The Kochi Prefecture in Japan is a far more relaxing and nature-inspired place to visit than the chaotic Tokyo. The teamLab digital art installation at Kochi Castle shows that Japan is open to mixing tradition and modernity.
The Kochi Prefecture, the largest of the four regions on Shikoku Island, has clear rivers and forests that stretch as far as the eyes can see. It also boasts a coastline shaped by thousands of years of fierce oceans. Kochi Castle is the capital of the prefecture with the same name. It stands tall above the small city compared to megalopolises such as Tokyo.
This Castle Castle is one of only a few in Japan. Japan has five thousand castles, but Kochi Castle is the most well-preserved. The Castle Castle was built in 1601, but a fire almost destroyed it. It was restored fully during the Edo Period.
It is the perfect backdrop for digital art installations by the teamLab crew. They are best known for their permanent collection in Tokyo and Shanghai, their temporary exhibitions in Singapore, and now Kochi.
TeamLab’s work shows that art doesn’t have to be permanent. It is possible to take an old piece of art, such as a traditional one, and make it digital. This is what teamLab has done here in Kochi. Various artworks were projected around the CastleCastle, and each one added an interactive element.
Kochi Castle rises above the colored teamLab work.
TeamLabs also shows the relationships between people. Traditional artwork cannot be changed to suit its audience, another crucial aspect of their work. These installations respond to the audience’s needs by allowing visitors to influence the artwork they see directly.
This responsiveness helps you be more aware of others around you. I noticed this in Japan, where respect and consideration for one another are at an entirely new level.
Since the winter nights when the sun sets in the early hours of the evening, the teamLab: Digitized Kochi Castle has been running for several years.
The Castle Castle was a stunning setting I returned to twice while in Kochi. I wasn’t able to do justice to it the first time. You should spend at least one hour admiring the Castle Castle if you are in Kochi from mid-November through mid-January. Here are some tips on what you can expect.
Sketching with friends
The ‘ketching and friends’ section of this digital art installation was the most fantastic thing I have ever seen. You could color in historical Kochi characters inside a tent-like Sakamoto Ryoma (an influential Samurai) and Itagaki Tasuke, a Japanese soldier who led the freedom movement.
After you’ve finished drawing, color them and save them to a computer for scanning. They were then quickly animated on the big screen. These famous figures come to life when you touch them. They share famous quotes with the audience and sometimes even break into a vast dance scene for everyone’s enjoyment.
The screen is animated by projecting the scans onto it.
The resonating walls will greet you.
Kochi Castles’s ancient stone wall measures approximately 500 meters. TeamLab made the most of this space with their installation, which projects resonating light across various borders. As you approach the characters projected, calligraphy and words move across the border. The scene is brought to life by flowers and other ornaments that appear and disappear in bright and pastel colors.
The tree corridor, floating spheres, and balls
The three central locations of Kochi Castle’s gardens are where floating spheres, balancing eggs, and other ‘eggs” dance in multiple colors to respond to visitors.
The speed at which the colors and sounds cascade outwards from the artwork is determined by how many people are there and how they interact with them. As the speed increases, you become more aware of other visitors and are more alert to the presence of others.
The corridor of light is the most exciting spot for photography. It’s where the ovoids react and where a chain reaction of colors illuminated autumn leaves.
TeamLab Kochi Castle: Floating spheres of light
Waves of light, Kochi Castle itself
Computer-generated waves projected onto the walls of the Castle’sCastle’s first entrance are almost hypnotizing. These waves are a reminder of the connection between water and sea, possibly a nod toward the Tsunamis which have ravaged these coastlines for thousands of years.
It was clear that Kochi’s people live alongside nature and have a strong connection with it. Given the cross-cultural interaction between the land and the sea, it is a fitting choice for artwork.
Kochi Castle, the show’s main star, is lit by a ‘breathing changing’ light radiating outwards towards its walls. If you can visit the teamLab event, you should also visit the CastleCastle during daylight hours to see one of Japan’s most important and historic castles in all its daylit glory.