Wednesday was a relatively quiet day, catching up on my blog and eating at modest familiar places in the rue Montorgueil neighborhood. Thursday I was called on to help friends and family with technical and literary issues, while also attending an interesting Ivy League LGBT reception that evening. The highlight, however, was my visit to an extraordinary exhibition in the Great Hall of La Villette, a former abattoir in the north-east corner of Paris. The show, called au-delà des limites (Beyond the Limits) was created by teamLab, a Japan-based collaborative of artists, programmers, engineers, 3D animators, mathematicians and architects. It’s hard to describe this astounding exhibit so I’ll show you some photos and videos first, then try to characterize the experience. (I see subsequently that the new Tokyo museum by the same group is called “Borderless” so possibly that’s their preferred translation.)
These astounding spaces are created by a massive array of computer-controlled digital projectors. You don’t just look at these images, you are immersed in them. My videos are dim, but in the exhibit the colors are brilliant. Moreover, as you can see in a few clips, most of the images are interactive: they change as you walk or if you touch the wall on which they are projected. One way to think about the experience is a form of shared virtual reality. Instead of each person having their own personal goggles all the visitors share the same visual and aural hallucination. Beyond the technical brilliance the images and sounds are simply gorgeous, and ever changing. When you enter this space you have stepped into the minds of an extremely creative and generous team of artists.
The exhibition is on through September 9, 2018. I can’t recommend it too highly.
Update: I took my nephew Andy to the exhibition on his last day in Paris, and he also enjoyed it.