Debi van Zyl

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FLOATING FLOWER GARDEN

Wishing I could be walking through this Floating Flower Garden by teamLab.

It was an interactive experience where the suspended flowers and plants, through sensors, move upwards as you approach, and back down when you pass by, creating a personal flower envelope as you move through the space. First exhibited at the Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo, and then Maison et Object, last year.

Images by teamLab

Images by teamLab

I love this combination of digital technology and the natural world that we've been seeing in recent years with interactive installations. This reminds me of Rain Room a bit. What I love about these types of installations is that the digital technology presents itself through not-your-typical digital interfaces, but familiar and naturally occurring things (water, plants, etc.) and is fueled directly by our physical participation and sensory expectations... the surprise of a moving flower or plant, ushering you through space, or the surprise of not getting wet in the rain.

It also reminds me of an installation I saw in Paris almost 20 years ago. I tried to look it up online and I can't find a record of it, so now I'm starting to think I'm making this up, or at least have an exaggerated memory of what I think I saw and heard.

BUT if I remember this correctly, there was a temporary installation outside the Centre Pompidou, a forest of Christmas trees. It was December, so not a surprising sight. But as you talked through, the trees whispered to you: Merry Christmas in different languages, ever so softly. It completely took me by surprise and I stood there in the trees for a while.
Talking trees. It was magical.
Which is sort of what I think walking through the Floating Flower Garden must feel like. 

p.s. I'm really hoping someone can back me up on the existence of this Christmas tree installation and confirm that I was NOT hearing voices in my head back in 1997.

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