Among many must-see sights in Tokyo is the teamLab Borderless digital art exhibition. This exhibit brings the idea of art without boundaries to life and will leave guests questioning their perception. The “do not touch the art” signs here are seen before entering rooms full of illuminated lanterns, mirrors, and floor-to-ceiling LED light strips.
The way the entry to the museum is operated is similar to something you might have experienced playing laser tag or riding a roller coaster. There are warning signs, lockers, and a short, informational video about what to expect. I vividly remember one of the precautions being that the art may move and you should follow it. You’re surrounded by black walls (black almost everything actually), one displaying the words “Wander, Discover, Explore.” This is an awfully ironic setup because of the fact everything is so minimal and straight to the point, and the exhibit itself is so, not.
There is no designated path once you enter, but there is a guaranteed wow factor in every display room. The first one I entered was floral themed. Digital projections of sunflowers, cherry blossoms, and other various flowers and plants covered the walls, ceilings, and floors. The images were constantly changing with movements similar to the images seen through a kaleidoscope.
The variety of displays is all over the place, but in a good way. There were rooms full of floating lanterns (as seen in the featured image above), frames with images that moved, and trampolines with projections of the ocean and its inhabitants. Almost all of the displays incorporate mirrors in them in some way as well creating even more complex illusions.
Things to know before you go
- Locating the museum is rather easy given it is right next to Daikanransha, Tokyo’s massive rainbow Ferris wheel.
- You should definitely plan your visit in advance! Waiting until the day of to purchase your tickets will most likely result in seeing them sold out for the day, and possibly the next.
- Being on your phone will be tempting, but too much screen time in the dark building for so long could result in a headache later on. I’m speaking from personal experience.
- The layout of the entire exhibit is rather complex. Just when you think you’ve seen everything, a sign for another display pops up. Be sure you’ve seen all there is to see before exiting, especially because there is no re-entry.
- All ages are welcome into the exhibit. In fact, there are designated kid zones as well as sections that are adult-only.
Words and images do not give this elaborate digital art exhibit the life that it has in person. I can only hope that one day America sees an art exhibit even half as mesmerizing as this was, but when in Tokyo, do go!