As part of their current large-scale exhibition at Miraikan in Tokyo, TeamLab has created a fully-immersive installation of interactive flowers. 2300 flowers, to be exact, are suspended in a room that responds to the movement of visitors as they enter and walk through the forest of floating flowers. As visitors approach, the flowers float above their head, creating a small dome. It’s like the Rain Room, but with vegetation.
“when people of the present day see these blossoms, it is as if they see them in a dream”
TeamLab’s exhibition was originally scheduled to close on March 1 but it was extended through May 10, 2015 due to popular demand. The Floating Flower Garden is their newest work – sort of like an encore exhibition – that the designers added to the full lineup.
“In this interactive floating flower garden viewers are immersed in flowers, and become completely one with the garden itself,” says TeamLab, describing the installation. According to the designers the piece was inspired by a Zen koan from Nanquan Puyuan (南泉和尚, 748 – 835), the founder of a famous monastery.
As legend has it, Nanquan spent 30 years in a mountain retreat without ever leaving. At the governor’s request, Nanquan finally comes down to teach the people on the plain:
The governor asked Nanquan the meaning of an early, pre-Chan Buddhist teaching that all things come from the same source and accordingly there can be no difference between right and wrong, which are themselves the same, by virtue of a common origin.
Nanquan pointed to a patch of peonies in the garden: “Governor, when people of the present day see these blossoms, it is as if they see them in a dream.”
According to the explanation, “Nanquan seems to be pointing out that the unenlightened cannot fully perceive the flower as it really is, cannot experience it directly and purely. Instead it is approached as an object apart from the viewer, the subject. It is not seen as an extension of his or her own reality. The ordinary mind permits this dichotomy of nature, but in the Zen mind, man and flower become one, merged into a seamless fabric of life.”