It was dark inside the tea house at #FutureTogether’s indoor exhibition area at Bayfront Pavilion. We took a seat and waited patiently in anticipation of what was to come at Flower Bloom in an Infinite Universe in a Teacup, a digital interactive installation.
“Would you like teh tarik or green tea?” we were asked.
These are the two flavours of tea being served at the tea house. It was choice between a specially created version of the hot local beverage, or a yuzu-infused cold brew green tea.
We decided to try the special teh tarik brew. This was soon served in an elegant tea cup and placed on the table in front of us.
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In a Tea Cup
That’s when the magic happened.
Inside the tea cup, a digital flower started to bloom. Moving about the tea cup caused the flower petals to scatter and spread outside the cup.
Placing the tea cup down at a new location, another flower started to bloom inside the tea cup.
It was as advertised – Flowers Bloom in An Infinite Universe inside a Teacup.
The digital installation invites interaction and a sense of playfulness.
The flowers inside the tea cup are created in real-time by a computer programme. The digital art installation is the work Japanese art collective teamLab. The flowers are not a pre-recorded video. Instead, it is created by a programme which reacts and adapts to the tea drinker’s behaviour.
Consume the tea, hence reducing the surface area of liquid in the cup, and the size of the flower adapts accordingly. Spill some of the tea on to the table and the programme also reacts to the spilt liquid.
It is a continual process of blooming and withering – at least until we decided to finish the light, frothy and fragrant teh tarik in our cup.
Flowers Bloom in An Infinite Universe inside a Teacup
It is not difficult to catch the metaphorical meaning of the experience. What we had to contemplate harder on was it meant in the context of #FutureTogether. For those who don’t wish to think so hard, we recommend simply enjoying the tea.
Flowers Bloom in An Infinite Universe inside a Teacup is a separately ticketed experience within the #FutureTogether indoor exhibit area. Additional charges of $3 apply for Singapore residents and $7 for non-Singapore residents.
#FutureTogether at Gardens by the Bay, including its indoor exhibits, officially open on 16 January 2020 and will run till 15 March 2020. Tickets to #FutureTogether can be booked at the Gardens by the Bay website.
(Editor’s note, March 2020: The #FutureTogether exhibition has been extended to 22 March 2020. Admission to the Tea Experience is now free for Singapore Residents.)