SAMA opens "teamLab: The World of Irreversible Change," a groundbreaking art installation

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SAMA opens "teamLab: The World of Irreversible Change," a groundbreaking art installation
teamLab, The World of Irreversible Change, 2022, Interactive Digital Work, 6 channels, Endless, Sound: teamLab © teamLab, courtesy Pace Gallery.

SAN ANTONIO, TX.- The San Antonio Museum of Art is presenting teamLab: The World of Irreversible Change, a focus exhibition featuring a contemporary digital artwork by renowned art collective teamLab alongside a seventeenth-century Japanese screen from the Museum’s collection.

“We are thrilled to present teamLab’s digital artwork alongside a historical artwork from SAMA’s collection,” said Lana Meador, Associate Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art. “These complementary but vastly different mediums bring forward timely and vital concepts such as digital vs. analog, collective creativity, and humanity’s relationship to the environment.”

Running through March 23, 2025, the exhibition is on view in the Museum’s Contemporary II gallery. This is the first time The World of Irreversible Change, on loan to SAMA from the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation, is being shown at a public institution in the US.

“We are delighted to present this art installation at SAMA for the first time,” said Emily Ballew Neff, PhD, The Kelso Director at SAMA. “We are grateful to the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation for loaning us this innovative and groundbreaking installation and look forward to continue working with them for years to come.”

The visual format of teamLab’s The World of Irreversible Change resembles that of historic Japanese screens such as Scenes in and Around Kyoto (Rakuchu Rakugai-zu), which presents a bird’s-eye view of the ancient capital city. In teamLab’s interactive artwork, viewers’ actions affect a virtual city and influence the behavior of the people in it. Over time, the accumulated aggression can break out into war among the figures, resulting in the total annihilation of their population, their homes, and their land. Although its inhabitants may become agitated and cause destruction, regrowth of the virtual environment continues eternally, albeit forever changed. Presented across six monitors, the artwork changes in real-time with the seasons, weather, and the time of day of its location—in this case, San Antonio.

“The presentation of teamLab’s work connects well with SAMA’s wonderful collection of Japanese art, covering Japan’s long and rich artistic traditions,” said Shawn Yuan, Associate Curator of Asian Art.

teamLab: The World of Irreversible Change is curated by Lana Meador, Associate Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art, Shawn Yuan, Associate Curator of Asian Art, and Emily Sano, Senior Advisor for Asian Art, Emeritus.

teamLab (founded 2001) is an international art collective headquartered in Tokyo. Their collaborative practice seeks to navigate the confluence of art, science, technology, and the natural world. Through art, the interdisciplinary group of specialists, including artists, programmers, engineers, CG animators, mathematicians, and architects, aims to explore the relationship between the self and the world and new forms of perception.

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