The Way of the Sea, Transcending Space - Colors of Life

teamLab, 2018, Interactive Digital Installation, Endless, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

The Way of the Sea, Transcending Space - Colors of Life

teamLab, 2018, Interactive Digital Installation, Endless, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

This work is to be viewed from a position close to the entrance.

This work starts when the shoal of fish from The Way of the Sea enters the Small Universe in the Cave in the middle of the hallway. The work ends when the fish leave the space and disappear.

If you stand at a position close to the entrance, the boundary between the wall and the floor disappears, the real space dissolves, and the lines drawn by the trails of the fish appear to be drawn in three dimensions in the space. Eventually, the body becomes immersed in the artwork world, and the border between the artwork and the viewer dissolves.

The shoal of fish illuminated by the light move freely through the space, and their trails of light draw lines in the space. The fish sense people in the space and try to avoid colliding with them. People are also assigned a color, and when a fish passes by a person, it takes on that color.

This work is part of a series called The Way of Birds. “The way of the bird” is a saying in Zen which refers to the fact that unlike a human road, the road of the bird is not fixed. The road of the bird is free, unfettered, and leaves no trace. Here, the birds are replaced with fish.

The movement of thousands or tens of thousands of fish is beautiful and mysterious, like a single giant life form. The shoal of fish has neither a leader nor mutual consensus, but just moves on the simple basis of, “If my neighbor moves, then I move too.” However, the biological mechanism that causes hundreds of fish to move at the same time is still enigmatic. It seems there is a universal principle that human beings do not yet understand. While affected by the presence of people in the space, each fish seems to obey some sort of primitive rule as it moves, drawing lines in the space and unintentionally painting the surfaces with complex and beautiful colors.

The work is rendered in real time by a computer program, it is neither a prerecorded animation nor imagery on loop.The work as a whole is in constant change; previous states will never be repeated and can never be seen again.