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Japanese forest lights up in digital art show

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A staff member walks through an interactive digital installation Life is Continuous Light during a media preview of teamLab: A Forest Where Gods Live on Thursday. AFP

Japanese forest lights up in digital art show

A cascading waterfall made entirely of light pours onto a rock while azalea trees are illuminated in a glowing ripple at a digital art show in a Japanese forest.

Light installations featuring blooming flowers, giant koi carp and traditional calligraphy come to life after dark, creating an otherworldly ambiance at the exhibition that fuses nature and tech.

The show in the mountains of Kyushu in southern Japan is the latest offering from art collective teamLab.

The group are internationally renowned for their mesmerising displays combining projections, sound and carefully designed spaces.

“Sometimes, people think digital art and nature are completely against each other,” Takashi Kudo, a member of teamLab, said at a media preview.

“But at the same time, we think digital and nature are quite easy to merge, because our ‘paint’ is light.

“So we don’t destroy the nature itself, we don’t paint on original trees or rocks . . . in the daytime it’s going to disappear.”

The exhibition, which opened on Friday and runs until November 7, is in a park whose boundaries blend into an ancient forest in the Saga region near Nagasaki.

Sensors hidden in a thicket of azaleas detect when people walk past – sending a fleeting, firefly-like glow through the trees around them.

On the surface of a pond, abstract lines of violet, yellow and green light combine as if reflecting a canopy of neon trees above.

And in an abandoned bath house, huge “megaliths” jut out of the ground, brightly illuminated to contrast with the darkness inside and out.

Kudo says he hopes the exhibition, titled teamLab: A Forest Where Gods Live, will help people appreciate the beauty of the natural environment.

“The leaves – it seems that they are only green, but for us, it’s a screen.”

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