Tokyo Skytree Mural by teamLab

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Tokyo Skytree, which opened its doors to the public this past May, is currently the tallest tower in the world. The view from its observation deck is impressive, but just as captivating is the Tokyo Skytree Mural that is housed on the first floor of the tower. Designed by teamLab, the colorful and visually comprehensive mural stretches forty meters in length and three in height, and unites art and technology through its depiction of Tokyo’s vivacity. The team of eleven artists and five animators brings the still art to life through a series of animated panels as cars weave through highway traffic, boats float along the Sumida River, and tiny people create the hustle-and-bustle of the Japanese city. Classic icons of Japan culture including Mount Fuji, kabuki masks, and Shinto shrines populate the mural, which itself is homage to Japanese animation and art. In spite of the 21st-century approach of incorporating moving images in the mural, teamLab appeals to the traditional art forms such as painted folding screens that implement what teamLab calls “ultra subjective space.” Spatial qualities are not evoked through perspective since there is no vanishing point, but rather through the careful layering of figures. The two-dimensional quality lends artists a wider lens to capture the city, all the while creating volume through the clusters of building and overlapping heads within a crowd. The extent of detail in the piece is overwhelming, for each human face is distinctively unique, but creates such depth to the mural that it can enchant for hours.

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Kimberly

Kimberly is a graduate from MIT's Department of Architecture, and has recently joined the publication team at MIT OpenCourseWare. While architecture remains her first love, her interests encompass literature – epic poetry and Medieval romances are her favorite – and also fashion.

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