#27 Toshiyuki Inoko

Toshiyuki Inoko, Founder of teamLab, was born in Japan in 1977. Shortly after graduating from University of Tokyo in 2011, he established teamLab with his friends. teamLab is a group of specialists from various backgrounds including engineers, programmers, CG animators, designers, editors and architects, and they are working to expand the definition of art using digital technology and change people’s mind by art. In our interview, we asked him about his unique view of arts, teamLab’s art pieces and the current exhibition at Japan Society in New York.

Interview with Toshiyuki Inoko

– What is the concept and highlights of the current exhibition at Japan Society in New York?

Inoko:

This time, we have exhibited three pieces, two of which are interactive works.

“United, Fragmented, Repeated and Impermanent World” was created based on an artwork by Ito Jakuchu, an Edo-period painter. It is an interactive digital art piece since it gradually changes in response to viewers’ gestures.

There is also a space that showcases “Flowers and People – Gold and Dark” that has the function to make flowers fall when you touch them and to keep the flowers blooming when you remain a certain distance from them. Flowers bloom and die naturally without any interruption by humans. But in this art piece, the lives of flowers become shorter when you touch them and more flowers bloom if you stay away from them.

These kinds of interactive artworks are affected by viewers’ behaviors and they become complete art pieces by including viewers rather than having them as observers.

Flowers and People – Gold and Dark teamLab, 2014, Interactive digital installation, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

– Please tell us about team members of the project as well as the process from the design to the completion of your artwork.

Inoko:

“Life survives by the power of life” is created by a 3D CG animation team. First of all, we created a three-dimensional space on a computer and drew flowers and calligraphic brush strokes for the art piece in that space. Then, we transformed the drawings into animations using our theory of a logical structure of space called “Ultra Subjective Space.”

For “United, Fragmented, Repeated and Impermanent World,” we drew motifs inspired from Ito Jakuchu’s painting and then our CG team made three-dimensional objects of the drawings, which were then animated in a three dimensional space. The video was edited by computer to make tiles that make the mural change into abstract pixels when viewers face the tiles. The team for the project was made up of artists, a group of people for 3D animation, and engineers for the sensors.

I don’t envision the completed final versions of our artworks from the beginning. They are created through trial and error and we continually make improvements to our art pieces.