Japan has a long history of enthralment with flowers. The annual cherry blossom season is celebrated throughout the country, with hanami (literally flower see) parties symbolising the romance of this wonder. Currently in Tokyo there is an immersive, interactive installation of over 2,300 blossoming, floating flowers.
The installation is the latest created by TeamLab, a Japanese art collective of “ultra-technologists” lead by Toshiyuki Inoko. The group staged a large scale retrospective of their work at the Miraikan, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. This proved to be so popular that the show was extended two months and the Floating Flower Garden was added for the extended period until 1 May, 2015. The following is except from the TeamLab site gives and overview of what visitors can expect to experience at the installation.
When a viewer gets close to this flower-filled space, the flowers close to the viewer rise upwards all at once, creating a hemispherical space with the viewer at its center. In other words, although the whole space is filled with flowers, a hemispherical space is constantly being created with the viewer at its center and the viewer is free to move around wherever they want. If many viewers get close to one another, the dome spaces link up to form one single space.
In this interactive floating flower garden viewers are immersed in flowers, and become completely one with the garden itself.
Japanese Zen gardens are said to have been born as a place for Zen priests to carry out training so that they can become one with nature, the garden is a microcosm of the vastness of the surrounding natural mountain areas where they gathered to train.
There is a Zen kōan (a question or story that is part of a Zen priests theological training) called, “Nansen’s Flower”. A man named Rikukô Taifu, while talking with Nansen, said, “Jô Hoshi says, ‘Heaven and I are of the same root. All things and I are of the same substance.’ How wonderful this is!”. Nansen, pointing at a flower in the garden said, “People of these days see this flower as if they were in a dream.”