Mind blown – at TeamLab Planets in Tokyo.

My next tale from the Japanese side is one of astonishment.

It’s not too often you see me astonished. But it does happen occasionally. It happened on the Kolyma Highway in Siberia – and not due to the extreme cold itself but its extraordinary bleaching effect on the surrounding landscapes. There was astonishment at the beauty to behold on the roads of Namibia. There was the way the company pulled through the covid pandemic. There was our vacation to the Galapagos Islands (pdf – 25MB). All these and more…

My latest astonishment came while visiting Tokyo’s TeamLab art-collective’s light-and-sound installations, which this post is all about.

Basically, it’s unbelievably cool. It all lasts just an hour-and-a-half, but the journey you take there through different halls digitally painted in the most insanely grandiose way – it’s, well… astonishing…

There are hanging strings of light that change color constantly ->

There’s walking around up to your knees in multicolored illuminated water to the accompaniment of background sounds, which is simply mind-blowing ->

Multicolored balloon pushing ->

Flying flowers on the dome ceiling. You can stay gawping up at these for ages…

What’s this? A scene from Alien? ->

And these are flowers hanging in baskets, moving to-and-fro and up-and-down all the time. Another mind-blower ->

And it’s all inside here folks ->

An astonishingly unusual place. And the policies for visitors are just as unusual. First: you walk round here barefoot – because some of the halls are filled with water. Second: mobile phones don’t work inside, which is a good thing: no annoying ringtones or loud chatter; generally – very quiet. Third: you must – and will – be utterly overwhelmed by it all!

First, you take your shoes and socks off, roll up your trousers, and off you head down a dark, mysterious corridor…

Then up a slanting corridor with water streaming down its floor:

First is a warm-up hall, perhaps to screen for visitors with phobias or under the influence of alcohol: you go through a dark hall whose floor is covered in comfortable material that has a bunch of something soft underneath. A most unusual sensation // which reminded me of the soft moss we trekked upon in Altai in 2020.

The first hall-proper was the one with the strings of light hanging down. Its walls, ceiling and floor are all covered in mirrors (which are actually practically everywhere here), and the colors and brightness of the strings change in time with the strange music. In among these hanging-down light streams there’s a labyrinth of corridors. In all – an overwhelming, disorienting experience:

The colors just keep on changing…

Looking up ->

Looking down ->

Right. Where to next?…

The “fish” in the water – stupefying ->

Next hall – the one with the big bouncy balloons ->

There’s no mobile coverage – but that doesn’t stop folks selfie-ing. Still – I can’t talk )…

// The quality of my pics isn’t up to much; but it was impossible in here to take sharp photos of the proceedings…

Alas, these snaps only begin to tell the story of this experience…

Psychedelic! ->

Sci-fi movie-esque ->

And for dessert – Floating Flower Garden ->

Just like yesterday – plenty floor-sitting! ->

With my wide-angle lens – mind-widening scenes! ->

Yes – truly a mind-blowing place. I want more!…

Quick video:

And that’s all for today folks. Back soon!…

The rest of the photos from Japan are here.

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