Hyperessay Artist Selection: teamLab

The artist I am choosing is teamLab.

teamLab is a Japanese collective, interdisciplinary group that uses digital media as their playground for art-making through the use of augmented reality, interactive spaces, and various technologies.  Calling themselves ‘ultra-technologists,’ teamLab aims to achieve a balance between art, science, technology and creativity.

teamLab was founded in 2001, a company that did not made it in art, but instead made applications, back-end systems, web design, interfaces, and data bases. They became major after the Singapore Bienalle 2013 which they were given a special showcase in Singapore Art Museum. The Bienalle drew a total of 560,000 visitors, and the success of the event made teamLab go international. teamLab founder Toshiyuki Inoko, Takashi Kudo, teamLab’s Communications Director and one of the first members of the collective. teamLab is now an internationally known brand which has about 500 staffs in Tokyo, as well as small offices in Singapore, New York, and Los Angeles. teamLab also have 4 permanent exhibitions in Singapore, Future World: Where Art Meets Science at the ArtScience Museum, Story of The Forest at The National Museum, Digital Light Canvas at Marina Bay Sands’ former skating rink and Flowers and People – Dark at the National Gallery.


The Infinite Crystal Universe, teamLab, 2015-2018, Interactive Installation of Light Sculpture, LED. Image taken from https://www.teamlab.art/ew/infinite_crystaluniverse/

With works like ‘The Infinite Crystal Universe,’ ‘Walk, Walk, Walk: Search, Deviate, Reunite,‘  ‘Sketch Aquarium,’ teamLab created immersive and interactive worlds full of colours and imagination. teamLab not only engages audiences with beautiful worlds, but also allow them to interact with it by adding their own part to the artwork (as seen in Sketch Aquarium).

When asked about the considerations put into the production of a teamLab work, the response was:

Interactive artworks encourage viewer participation. Common interactive media, such as video games, PCs, smartphones, Internet applications, and the like, involve people who purposely wish to interact directly with the world, actually intervening and executing some functions in order to do so. However, teamLab focuses much more on connecting interactivity and art, regardless of whether the viewer purposely wishes to intervene and execute some actions, so that art is changed simply by the mere existence of another person. In addition, if the change caused by the existence of that third person looks beautiful, then the existence of that person also becomes beautiful.

At the very least, with the conventional type of art that people have experienced up until now, the presence of other viewers constituted more of a hindrance than anything else. If you found yourself alone at an exhibition, you would consider yourself to be very lucky. However, teamLab’s exhibitions are different: the existence of other viewers is definitely seen as a positive element.

Sketch Aquarium, teamLab, 2013-present. Image taken from https://www.teamlab.art/w/aquarium
Walk, Walk, Walk: Search, Deviate, Reunite. 2018. Image taken from https://www.teamlab.art/w/walk

According to one online article, chief creative officer Takumi Nomoto said this:

“It’s about creating something that’s against what people see as the norm,” Nomoto says, smiling. “If I go to a museum and I see art hanging on the wall I don’t feel any connection to it, it’s just a painting on the wall. However, if you’re part of the art, if you play an integral part, then you can connect with it.”

teamLab’s philosophy is essentially creating non-static interactive artwork that one can relate to, and that generates the feedback loop which is crucial for the artworks to stay alive. The futuristic visions of teamLab allows for such a playful yet awe-inspiring works. I find this philosophy really interesting and something that I would love to do. Being able to meddle with technology to extend one’s perception of the world is one thing that is great. To be able to inspire people with the creation of universes is another experience that cannot be put into words.

For a software programming company to transition into an art-making one, their approach to design is really candid, enthusiastic, and really different from trained artists which I feel made them really lovable and genuine in the way they make art. When art and science comes together, it becomes something without boundaries. When we start seeing science as art, and throw away preconceived ideas of what art should be, we can really appreciate this new ways we perceive art. Just like Nam June Paik’s ‘Magnet TV,’ teamLab can be revolutionary in our time to create a more hopeful future for not just the art world, but also for reality.






5 Minutes With… teamLab!


Guit4r M4st3r

This is my game, Guit4r M4st3r. Here is the opening page!

Upon pressing spacebar, you’ll move to the instructions page, which guides you through the gameplay

Pressing the spacebar through the instructions page will lead you to the game play, which starts at a countdown:



And then the game begins with some lit metal music


The player has to move QWERTY and ASDFGH to control the fingers on the string. The top row being the keys to move the respective finger up the string, the bottom row to move down. After some getting use to, the player will be able to master the technique to control.

The player have to match the “fingers” (yellow circles) with the faded yellow circles and press spacebar at the cyan part of the bottom bar to score points.



Otherwise, you get an”Uh-Oh’ and lose a health!

The overall gameplay will be somewhat like AuditionSEA, but with more buttons to press and only one speed (p.s. the speed increases over time from 1.0 to 1.6 so as to add difficulty)

Once lose, you will get a gameover page, which you can see your final score, and if you press spacebar, you will restart the game

The whole idea of the game is inspired by difficult arcade games like Flappy Bird. It is meant to be simple, though hard to play, and frustrating, but addictive. Like Flappy Bird, once the player masters the technique, the game becomes so easy that getting by is no longer the issue, and scoring the high score becomes a chore.

The aesthetics of the game is quite close to Flappy Bird’s, and even the font is from the game. I do that to draw the similarities between both arcade games.


I encountered some problems during the process of making the game. Most of them are solved, and one of them is a major one that involves me restarting the game.

Basically, the whole code would not reset my array that makes the program say “READY, SET, GO!” when i restart the game after dying. After a long time of figuring out, I finally understood why. I just needed to move a bunch of code to a different place and it worked.

Other minor problems are just me jumbling up my gamemode values which took me a long time to fix, although it is a simple problem.

One major problem that still exists now that I cannot fix is that, if I were to restart the game after gameover, the game will instantly cause an “Uh-oh” and lose a health. No matter what you do.

So I have reapplied what I learnt this term onto this game. One major take away is something that I discovered on my own (and i’m proud of it!). It is that we can control the game base on variables that are not visible on the screen. Things like ‘gamemodes’, ‘counters’, and ‘timers’ which I used extensively to make everything work with as little mess as possible. 1 value can control everything.

Neo Conceptualism Essay

Bryan Leow Ee Kwang

Neo Conceptualism


Neo Conceptualism happened between the 1980s to 1990s, which is the revival of Conceptualism of the 1960s to 1970s. The very idea of conceptualism stems far into the past, during the 1910s where Dadaism was formed. Dada founded the idea of conceptualism, through Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain”. Displaying a found object in an art gallery for the first time, Duchamp broke the rules of art at that time, which are usually carefully made paintings to specifically fit a certain style. The Fountain is an actual urinal found in a men’s room, placed flatly down on the gallery stand to be turned into “art”. By taking the object out of context and switching of the orientation, Duchamp have transformed the meaning of a urinal into something else. The function of the urinal became something more conceptual: a mockery of art, and a stance on art being something that should be without rules. By doing so, Duchamp started Dadaism, which made use of seemingly nonsensical, meaningless, and provocative artworks to express their protest to bourgeois ideas of art as well as their discontent with the war at that time. This has influenced many more artists like Hannah Hoch to create more Dadaist artworks.


Fast forward, Dada influenced neo-conceptualism in some ways, as can be seen from John LeKay’s “Untitled” which features a wheelchair on top of a ladder. This is very similar to Duchamp’s “Bicycle Wheel” visually. The usage of readymades which started from Duchamp took off to show us new ways that art can be represented. While both artworks are conceptually different, the idea of Dadaism stuck.


The most direct influence was Conceptualism. The whole idea of conceptualism was to question the concept of art-making. When thinking about conceptualist artworks, we must remember how art used to be like in order to contextualise the reasonings behind conceptual art. The Young British Artists are a group of British artists who exhibited together in 1992 that drove Neo Conceptualism to where it is today. They influenced the movement greatly through their branding which is easily recognised worldwide. Members of the YBA includes Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. Due to the openness of their usage of materials, they can easily create sensationalised artworks that challenges our ideas of what art is supposed to mean. By doing so, the artists are able to create artworks that have provocative characteristics like in Dada, shocking audiences to a larger extend that is better than what a painting or sculpture can do. This can be seen from “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living”, an artwork by Damien Hirst. The artwork is an actual dead shark, preserved by formaldehyde, stored in a tank. The concept behind this artwork is that death is something that we cannot imagine. We cannot imagine how it is like to be dead, like the dead shark. At the same time, we cannot imagine ourselves to be dead, due to the shark’s powerlessness, despite its fearsomeness when it is still alive. The artwork has everything that makes a conceptual art great — Interesting mediums, extraordinary concept, and really shocking imagery. Despite the cost and criticism, we cannot help but to admire both the grandeur of such an artwork, as well as really contemplate on the whole meaning of the artwork. The art is also able to fully express itself now that the medium is open to not just sculptures and paintings. Other than that, the artwork also provoke questions about the real meaning of art. Should art be about the idea or the object itself? Should mediums like these be acceptable as “art”? Therefore, conceptual art have fulfilled its goals to completely challenge the way we see art.


We can see the evolution on the ideas of what a conceptual artwork should be, from Duchamp’s Dadaist “Fountain” to Hirst’s The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living”. Neo Conceptualists continue to experiment on different mediums, extending into performances, photography, and even more. Neo Conceptualism seems to be an expansion of Conceptualism, which gave rise to what we know as Contemporary Art today.


I would like to offer another perspective towards Contemporary Artworks. Perhaps, the idea of creating such works would also be a testing of what works and what does not, in the context of art. Surely, the freedom for artists to do whatever they want as long as they have an idea is a double-edged sword. Artists can be easily criticised as like creating their concepts and artworks. However, criticism and questioning could be the next driving force artists need in order to evolve. We can think of such artworks as a bridge that links the old, rigid, and traditional ways towards a greater future of art itself. Through this experimentation, art can evolve to something that is perhaps more free, yet elegant at the same time. We live in a time of transition and that is something that we should not take for granted.