Crows are chased and the chasing crows are destined to be chased as well, Division in Perspective – Light in Dark

teamLab, 2014, Digital Installation, 4min 20sec (loop), 7 channels, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

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Crows are chased and the chasing crows are destined to be chased as well, Division in Perspective – Light in Dark

teamLab, 2014, Digital Installation, 4min 20sec (loop), 7 channels, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

A digital installation in three dimensions on seven screens.

This is an artwork that explores Japanese spatial awareness. It exists in three dimensions in a three-dimensional space that we call Ultra Subjective Space. The Japanese mythical bird Yatagarasu*, rendered in light, flies around the space leaving trails of light in its path, creating spatial calligraphy. As the crows chase and are chased by each other through the air, they become flowers, and eventually scatter.

The Itano Circus is a unique technique pioneered by Japanese animation and created by animator Ichiro Itano. In this technique, a screen is packed to capacity with swarms of flying missiles that are drawn in a completely distorted perspective. These distortions give the audience a stronger sense of dynamic movement and impact. Through ultra-high-speed camera work, and through staging that envelops the viewer’s perspective, this technique creates an overwhelmingly beautiful image.

In this digital artwork, an homage to the Itano Circus, teamLab has recreated this distortion of space, formerly used in 2-D animation, in a 3-D space. This is an exploration of 1) what sort of logical structure of spatial perception constitutes this distortion of space pioneered by Japan’s animators, and 2) the hypothesis that this is in line with the continuous tradition of Japanese spatial perception. By recreating this distortion of space in a 3-D space, teamLab widens the perspectival viewpoint. This work is also an experiment into the viewer’s visual experience, as it divides the viewer’s perspective while deploying divided perspective into 3-D space.

*Yatagarasu, the three-legged crow, is a creature found in Japanese mythology. It is believed to represent the sun and the will of Heaven.