Lights up

Light installations play among natural vistas in Abu Dhabi.

As part of the Manar Abu Dhabi public art initiative showcasing site-specific sculptures, projections and immersive artworks by local and international artists, TeamLab’s ‘Mangrove Island’ immersive light installation is open for visitors to explore until 30 January 2024.


Located on Samaliyah Island, a nature reserve of mangroves accessible only by a short boat trip, the ‘Mangrove Island’ installation features nine interactive artworks, each one brighter than the one before.


Visitors initially walk through the ‘Path Leading to the Mangrove Forest’, accompanied by a musical experience by musical artist Hideaki Takahashi, which changes depending on the pace at which they walk. The exhibition then leads to ‘Life is Continuous Light’, an illuminated mangrove forest that shines more brightly and produces a musical tone when people walk through it. ‘The light of that tree then radiates out, spreading to nearby mangroves as they resonate with the same tone. If a wave of light comes from the other side, it signifies the presence of people there. People gain a heightened sense of awareness of the existence of other people in the same space,’ explains TeamLab.


Another installation, ‘Pillars that Dance with the Wind’, features inflatable air pillars that move together in the wind, changing colour depending on the conditions, while ‘Resonating Microcosms - Solidified Light Colour’ is comprised of 61 egg-shaped orbs that shine like extraterrestrial ovoids. Like the other installations, this one responds to the people around it: when an ovoid is pushed by a person, it shines brightly and emits a sound tone as it recentres itself. The ovoids around it also respond, one after another, emitting the same light colour and sound tone. When there is no movement around them, however, they reflect their surroundings.


‘Forest of Autonomous Resonating Life’ continues this egg-shaped exploration with another series of brightly lit ovoids that respond to the people around them with colour and sound, as does ‘Autonomous Resonating Life and Resonating Trees’, a collection of ovoids among the trees that also shine brightly and then fade slowly, as though they are breathing.


Light installations ‘Spatial Calligraphy’, ‘Giant Solidified Spark’ and ‘Universe of Fire Particles on the Island’ also intersect with the mangroves, brightly recreating calligraphic strokes, the sun and fire, respectively, using digital light technology.


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