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Japan's Latest Dazzling Interactive Art Exhibition Is Taking Over a 400-Year-Old Castle

From the folks behind Tokyo's new digital art museum, it'll feature a field of glowing oval balls that change colour when they're pushed, as well as floral animals roaming the castle's walls.
By Sarah Ward
November 10, 2018
By Sarah Ward
November 10, 2018

Since it opened in June this year, the Mori Building Digital Art Museum: teamLab Borderless has become one of the hottest tickets in Tokyo. Given that the 10,000-square-metre site is filled with immersive, kaleidoscopic digital art — think walls filled with floating flowers, rooms dedicated to dazzling light and music shows, and sitting in a space pummelled with digital waves — it's easy to see why. It's a permanent addition to the city's Odaiba district, but the folks behind it are spreading their love to another part of the country. They're also taking up temporary residence in a castle.

From November 22, 2018 to January 6, 2019, teamLab will unleash teamLab: Digitised Kōchi Castle at the historic site that gives the exhibition its name. Located in the city of Kōchi on the nation's Shikoku island, Kōchi Castle dates back to 1601, when it was originally built after a huge battle. While parts burned down in 1727, it was rebuilt and restored between 1729–1753, and remains a significant place. In fact, it's the only castle in Japan where the castle tower and almost all of its central structure are still intact.

For Digitised Kōchi Castle, teamLab will do what it does best, transforming the space using interactive digital art projected onto its surfaces. That'll allow the artistic outfit to completely alter the castle without actually physically altering it — and for the artworks to react to human presence, meaning that you'll likely never see the same thing twice.

Specifically, visitors can expect everything from a field of glowing oval balls under lit-up trees, with the balloon shapes changing colour when they're pushed; to animals made of flowers roaming the walls of the structure, dissipating when people get near; to simulated waves ebbing and flowing across the castle's fusuma sliding doors. A 500-metre expanse of stone wall will also be lit, shining and fading slowly as if the castle is breathing, while there'll be plenty more illumination brightening up the 417-year-old building.

If you'll be finding yourself in Japan during the pop-up exhibition's nearly two-month window, tickets cost a highly affordable 1500 yen, or around $18.25 Australian. Early bird tickets, which are on sale now until November 21, are JPY1300 / AUD$15.80.

Like teamLab's other creations, Digitised Kōchi Castle isn't just about light, but also about sound too — however to give the exhibition an extra glow, it'll only run in the evenings, from 5.30–9.30pm.

teamLab: Digitised Kōchi Castle runs from November 22, 2018 to January 6, 2019 at Kōchi Castle, Kochi Park, Marunouchi 1-2-1, Kochi City, Kochi. For more information, visit the exhibition website.

Images: teamLab.

Published on November 10, 2018 by Sarah Ward
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