From the moment one walks through the doors of Pace Gallery’s Menlo Park location, it is an entirely immersive experience for the senses. Unlike Pace’s other more traditional galleries around the world, the Menlo Park location takes advantage of its presence in the hub of the Silicon Valley to form Pace Art + Technology, a space dedicated entirely to the exhibition of digital art.
For the inaugural show, on display until July 1, Pace Art + Technology has paired with the renowned Japanese digital art collective, teamLab, to present Living Digital Space and Future Parks. The immersive, multi-room experience includes 20 digital works of art, some making their U.S. debut, and some making their first-ever appearances. The large-scale, site-specific, digital installations, built of light, image, and sound, create a “digital playground for all ages” that sparks creativity, curiosity, and interaction while fusing together the worlds of art and technology.
The multi-disciplinary exhibition draws in crowds from outside the normal fine art gallery crowd, as was evident on the Stanford Arts sponsored student night last week. The event was a huge hit, with buses full of Stanford students shuttling to and from the gallery all evening long. The exciting installation should continue to draw in large crowds due to its broad appeal to both artistic and scientific curious minds.
The creation of a gallery so close to campus that appeals to the aesthetic eye of the “techie” student community creates an exciting opportunity to bridge the artistic and scientific student populations. In particular, the draw of an exhibition as interactive and immersive as Living Digital Space and Future Parks will do wonders to attract first time visitors through Pace Gallery’s doors.
Perhaps the most interactive and exciting portion of the new Pace Gallery is the teamLab Future Park, a space dedicated entirely to kids to build their enthusiasm about art and technology. The two biggest attractions of the Future Park are the Sketch Aquarium and the Digital Hopscotch Pad. In the Sketch Aquarium, kids (or grown ups!) receive a black and white coloring book page of a fish that they can color in with crayons and markers however they wish. The teamLab crew then scans the decorated fish into their system, and the colored-in fish swim around together in a touch-activated, interactive fish tank world. Since I was there with the group from Stanford, there were no little kids around, but the Stanford students were more excited about seeing their hand-drawn, customized fish swimming around and interacting with each other than almost any other piece in the exhibition. The second highlight of the Future Park was the Digital Hopscotch Pad. This consisted of a glowing hopscotch course on the floor of the room below a digital canvas. When you hop across the hopscotch course, the colors on the digital canvas change, therefore painting a pattern across the screen. teamLab’s ability to engage children directly with the art is unparalleled, and this exhibit has all the elements necessary to foster in the next generation a passion for art, design, and technology.
Overall, Pace Art + Technology Menlo Park is incredibly photogenic. The massive lighting installations and moving color fields create incredible backdrops for pictures or videos. When I returned home from the student night at Pace, my Instagram feed was filled with artsy snapshots of my friends in front of or immersed in the different digital installations. Each picture was alluring, fantastical, otherworldly, and enough to make you want to check it out for yourself. I may have even posted an Instagram myself.
Photos from Pace Gallery.