Toshiyuki Inoko & “teamLab” | Japan

Visual Artists
Toshiyuki Inoko & “teamLab” | Japan
Toshiyuki Inoko Japan

Toshiyuki Inoko, the mastermind behind “teamLab,” was born in Japan in 1977. He profoundly loves nature and studied math and technology at a big university in Tokyo. After finishing school, he started teamLab in 2001 with a big idea: to make art together, not alone.

teamLab creates captivating art using computers and teamwork. They’ve done many exciting projects, like one where people could dance with digital art in Tokyo. Another project featured monumental interactive artworks that amazed everyone. Their most impressive project is the teamLab Borderless Museum. It’s located in Japan, and it’s massive! Visitors can walk around and be part of the art. Everything moves and changes, making each visit unique and special.


Please introduce yourself and share your origin.

My name is Toshiyuki Inoko, and I am the founder and leader of teamLab, a group known for creating digital art. I was born in 1977 in Tokushima, Japan, a place with beautiful natural scenery that has influenced my work. I started teamLab in 2001, right after finishing my studies. I graduated from the University of Tokyo and studied Mathematical Engineering and Information Physics.

I also began graduate studies at the University of Tokyo, where I studied Interdisciplinary Information Studies. However, I left in 2004. During my studies, I learned about many subjects, including statistics and how computers understand language and art. This mix of knowledge has helped me and my team create distinct and interactive art. People know teamLab for creating innovative work.

Toshiyuki Inoko introduce

Can you tell me about the projects you’ve worked on?

Over the years, teamLab has done many projects that showcase our digital art style. In 2014, we hosted the ‘teamLab Dance! Art Exhibition and Learn and Play! ‘ at the Tokyo National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan). This event allowed visitors to interact with art in exciting new ways.

In 2016, we presented another extensive exhibition, ‘DMM.PLANETS Art by teamLab.’ It was in Tokyo and drew a diverse audience. The exhibition featured large-scale interactive artworks that captivated people of all ages.

Our most notable project so far is the MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM. It is by teamLab Borderless. It opened in Odaiba in June 2018. The museum is enormous. It offers a unique experience. Different artworks merge there, creating a memorable journey. Visitors can explore and engage with the art, making each visit distinct and personal.

projects Toshiyuki worked on

What inspired you to establish teamLab?

I founded teamLab with a clear vision: to create a space where collective experimentation and creation could thrive. Exploring new beauty and challenging old ideas about art inspired me, and I sought to promote a collaborative approach to creation.

This idea goes against the concept that ties art to individual signatures. I saw teamLab as a platform. Talented people would come together and share their skills. They would push the limits of art. This teamwork remains at our core. It drives us constantly to innovate and create groundbreaking art.


What sets teamLab apart from other art collectives?

teamLab’s approach to art is unique. We blend different subjects and use digital technology to create immersive experiences. Our artwork only hangs on walls. It moves and interacts, blurring art, space, and audience. This innovative approach sets teamLab apart.

We create places where viewers become part of the art. It’s an interactive experience unlike any other in the art world. Visitors to teamLab exhibitions can expect more than looking at paintings. In this dynamic world, everything connects as they step into it, making each visit exciting and memorable.

Could you describe the concept behind teamLab Borderless?

teamLab Borderless reimagines the idea of a museum. Here, artworks don’t stay still. They move and interact, blurring art and audience. Visitors become part of the experience. Art flows around them, surrounding them. Entering teamLab Borderless is like entering a world where everything is alive.

The boundaries between traditional art and digital technology disappear, creating an immersive journey. Every visit to teamLab Borderless is unique. The art constantly changes, offering visitors a fresh experience each time. It’s a place where you can lose yourself in the beauty and wonder of interactive art.

TeamLab Borderless

How does teamLab Borderless encourage interaction between viewers and artworks?

At teamLab Borderless, the interaction between viewers and artworks is fundamental. For instance, one artwork features flowers blooming on the floor. They do so when people stand still and shed petals when they move. This interaction is dynamic. It encourages viewers to engage with the artwork and with each other. It fosters a sense of shared experience and communication.


What role does nature play in your artistic vision?

Nature is essential to me and my art. As a kid, I explored the mountains and forests in Tokushima. That love for nature inspires a lot of what we do at teamLab. Our artworks try to show the connection between humans and nature. We make things that move and change like nature does. Seeing our art makes you feel like part of the natural world.


Could you explain the significance of physical movement in experiencing art?

Moving is crucial for experiencing our art. It boosts spatial memory. We encourage viewers to move into our installations, such as teamLab Athletics Forest, to engage more with the artworks. Movement lets viewers see and think about the world in 3D, enriching their experience and understanding of the art.

TeamLab Athletics Forest

How do you envision the intersecting future of art and technology?

In the future, art and technology will merge to create innovative experiences. Technology is advancing. It creates new possibilities for art. It engages audiences in new ways. I envision a future where digital art merges into daily life. It will transform spaces and enhance interactions with the world around us.


What role do you see teamLab playing in shaping the future of art?

teamLab plays a crucial role in shaping the future of art. We’re all about pushing boundaries and exploring new possibilities using digital technology. Our teamwork and mix of fields let us create groundbreaking art. It challenges conventional ideas. We aim to inspire others. We want to drive innovation in the art world. We strive to foster creativity and experimentation.


How does teamLab incorporate Japanese culture into its artworks?

teamLab incorporates Japanese culture into its artworks by drawing from old art forms and ideas. For instance, our method creates ‘ultra-subjective spaces.’ Pre-modern Japanese scroll paintings inspired it. These scrolls depict many scenes from various viewpoints within a single artwork. This approach lets us make dynamic, interactive spaces. They mirror the fluidity and interconnectedness found in Japanese art and culture.


How do you envision the viewer’s role in experiencing teamLab’s artworks?

The role of the viewer is central to experiencing our artworks. At teamLab Borderless, you’re not watching; you’re part of the action. When you interact with our installations, you become a vital piece of the artwork. This active involvement makes the experience more exciting and unique. We want you to feel inside the art, not look at it. That’s how we make our art meaningful and fun for you!

TeamLab's artworks

What challenges do you face when creating interactive artwork?

Creating interactive artwork has many challenges, like technical limits. It’s critical to ensure that the art is easy to interact with. We also have to maintain the integrity of our artistic vision. It’s a balancing act between using advanced technology and expressing our creative ideas. We work as a team to beat these challenges. We ensure each viewer has a unique, engaging experience with our art.


How do you measure the success of a teamLab exhibition?

The success of a teamLab exhibition is measured by the level of engagement and interaction from the viewers. We look at how the artworks make them feel and what they do when they see them. If people give good feedback, spend time exploring, and interact with the art and each other, we know it’s a hit. We aim to make an experience that sticks with visitors even after they’ve left the exhibition.

Success of a teamLab Art

What advice would you give to aspiring artists and creators?

My advice to aspiring artists and creators is to embrace collaboration and experimentation. Embrace the opportunity to push boundaries and explore new concepts. Focus on making experiences that resonate with your audience and challenge artistic norms. Remember, setbacks and failures are inevitable and valuable learning opportunities. Stay curious, remain open-minded, and strive to innovate and inspire.


How should event organizers contact you?

Event planners can contact TeamLab through our official website (Links below). There, they can find contact information and details about our exhibitions and projects. We are always open to new opportunities for collaboration and want to show our artwork worldwide.

Toshiyuki Inoko Japan art

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