teamLab Borderless


WORDS Paris Brummer PHOTOS courtesy of teamLab

Photographer Paris Brummer was captivated by Instagram images and videos of friends washed in colourful lights and projections. On a trip to Japan, she went to check out what it’s all about.

Being a somewhat devoted (but unable-to-quote-character-dialogue) sci-fi fan, I was instantly drawn to the Instagram visuals of humans frolicking in some futuristic museum space with lights and sensory projections that reacted to movement and sound. It was not until I clicked on the hashtag and filtered through 143 000 posts that I understood it to be teamLab Borderless.

Located in Odaiba, Tokyo, the Digital Art Museum is a collaborative initiative between Mori Building, a Tokyo-based urban developer and supporter of art and culture, and teamLab (f. 2001), an interdisciplinary art collective that uses digital technologies. The museum has 10 000 m2 of labyrinthine floor space with projections, sounds and lights that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the art.

After experiencing teamLab Borderless, I understood why the Digital Art Museum has earned the title of “The world’s most Instagrammed museum”. The sheer volume of content populating the hashtags are more than a self-indulgent need to take selfies in mottled light. Rather, it’s an attempt to document a sensory art experience that is best encountered in person.

The word “borderless” best describes the museum’s vision to liberate art from physical constrictions and transcend boundaries in a contemporary society where the borders between technology and creativity have become fluid and organic.

Although it opened less than a year ago, the museum’s popularity has ensured long lines of eager patrons. To make the most of the experience, buy tickets ahead of time online, visit the popular exhibits early, and allow yourself a good few hours to see everything.

And if Japan is not on your radar, teamLab is hosting exhibitions and installations around the world this year, among others in Spain and Singapore.

  • Ticket price: ¥3 200 (about R415)
  • Hours: 10 am – 7 pm on weekdays and 10 am – 9 pm on weekends and public holidays
  • Getting there: Travel from the Tokyo city centre by taxi or train – Tokyo Teleport Station (Rinkai Line) or Aomi Station (Yurikamome Line).

For more information, visit