Explosion of colors dazzles visitors to interactive digital show in Shanghai

People visit the art show 'Universe of Water Particles in the Tank' by teamLab at Tank Shanghai art space project in Shanghai, China, Apr. 11, 2019. EPA-EFE/WU HONG

SHANGAI.- .- An interactive digital installation featuring millions of colorful particles dancing around a three-dimensional space greets visitors to a new artistic hotspot in China’s largest city, an epa-efe photojournalist reported.

«Universe of Water Particles in the Tank,» a spellbinding array of luminous patterns accompanied by a hypnotic soundtrack, was presented on Mar. 23 to mark the inauguration of TANK Shanghai, the eastern Chinese metropolis’ newest modern art venue.

The collective behind the idea, teamLab, transformed a colossal former oil tank into the hyper-stimulating and ever-changing installation in which interaction between human and machine is key.

The tank, which had been previously used to store airplane fuel, now functions as a digital canvas for teamLab’s mind-boggling creation, which includes a recreation of a waterfall and many-hued flowers that float around as directed by the visitors.

«Water is represented by a continuum of numerous water particles,» teamLab explained on its website. «The interaction between the particles is calculated and then lines are drawn in relation to the behavior of the water particles. The lines are ‘flattened’ using what teamLab considers to be ultra-subjective space.»

«When people stand on or touch the waterfall, they obstruct the flow of water like a rock, and the flow of water changes. The flow of water continues to transform due to the interaction of people. Previous visual states can never be replicated, and will never reoccur,» it added.

The sound, which includes audio of a real waterfall and ethereal low-key music, was designed by Japanese composer Hideaki Takahashi.

TeamLab is a consortium formed by visual artists such as graphic designers and technical experts like computer programmers, mathematicians or engineers.

Founded in Japan, the group’s vision rests on the belief that digital technology can expand art by «releasing expression from substance» and «creating an existence with the possibility for transformation.»

The complete interactivity of all its works lies at the core of the collective’s identity.

«Viewers, in interaction with their environment, can instigate perpetual change in an artwork,» teamLab’s website reads. «Through an interactive relationship between the viewers and the artwork, viewers become an intrinsic part of that artwork.»

TANK Shanghai is the brainchild of Qiao Zhibing, a renowned Chinese collector of contemporary art.

It serves as a multifunctional cultural hub spanning over 60,000 square meters (646,000 square feet) – equivalent to about 11 football stadiums – that combines the art exhibition venue with a plaza, a bookstore, an education center and a restaurant.

It used to house five massive oil tanks such as the one used for teamLab’s installation. In the past, the tanks served the now-abandoned Longhua International airport.

The other four tanks have been reconverted by the OPEN Architecture studio from Beijing to house the rest of TANK Shanghai’s facilities.

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