TeamLab Opens a Digital Art Sauna, and Other News

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"TikTok teamLab Reconnect" in Tokyo

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TeamLab’s latest digital art experience incorporates socially distanced sauna rooms.

TeamLab is known for mind-bending visuals that push boundaries of how to experience art, but this feels like a first. In Tokyo’s Roppongi district, the digital art collective set up a giant tent complete with bursting flower walls and hundreds of butterflies darting around a screen of tiny water particles. It also includes a sauna, allowing visitors to navigate three art installations in their bathing suits. “Art is traditionally exhibited in luxurious places like palaces or museums,” says TeamLab member Takashi Kudo. “We wanted to create a luxurious state of mind for people to experience it.” Social distancing and ample ventilation were considered so the experience, which runs through the end of August, meets government standards.

Two art institutes will merge to create the Institute of Contemporary Art in San Diego. 

The Lux Art Institute and the San Diego Art Institute plan to merge and establish the Institute of Contemporary Art, San Diego, which is slated to open in September. Operating from the former locations of each organization in Encinitas and Balboa Park, the institute will emphasize the region’s connection to Latinx communities. The Encinitas space and current home to the Lux Art Institute will focus on residencies, workshops, and educational programs. The former San Diego Art Institute, a space founded in 1941 that remains the only museum devoted to contemporary art within Balboa Park, will be dedicated to exhibitions, site-specific installations, and commissions.

NFT works by Alexis Christodoulou

The 3D artist Alexis Christodoulou fetches $340,000 for his renderings in an NFT auction.

The self-taught 3D artist and designer has sold nine looped, animated videos of different dreamscapes of the built and natural environments. Called “Homesick,” each work in the series is synced to a non-fungible token (NFT) to verify its authenticity using blockchain technology. Thanks to his dedicated social media following, the series sold for almost $340,000 on the cryptocurrency marketplace Nifty Gateway with the most expensive virtual artwork garnering $17,000.  

Public transit agencies receive $30 billion as part of President Biden’s stimulus package.

Public transit systems have seen better days—ridership has plummeted with the advent of remote work, leading many agencies on the brink of financial collapse. Thankfully, President Biden’s sweeping $1.9 trillion stimulus package allocated $30.5 billion for transit agencies, making it the largest single infusion of federal aid that public transit has ever received. Almost immediately, transit leaders around the country announced they would shelve plans for major service cuts. Biden is also reportedly pushing through a multitrillion-dollar infrastructure spending plan in the coming months that will likely include support for public transit, though details have yet to be confirmed.

Birkin bag by Hermès

Hermès flirts with the idea of making its Birkin bag out of sustainable mushroom leather. 

When you think of Hermès, the Birkin bag—a staple that regularly sells for $200,000 at auction—comes to mind. MycoWorks, a material science innovator, recently revealed it has spent the past three years working with the French luxury purveyor on a material called Sylvania that feels and looks like leather, but is actually made from mushrooms. The more sustainable material will be incorporated into Hermès’s “Victoria” travel bag. Meanwhile, we’re left wondering: will these highly coveted bags be perceived as less valuable if they aren’t made from leather? 

Construction officially begins on Kengo Kuma’s biophilic “office of the future” in Milan. 

Appropriately titled “Welcome, feeling at work,” the mixed-use project spearheaded by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma is located within the Rizzoli district, a former industrial area reimagined as a public plaza. The project, which seeks to create a fully integrated workspace centered on employee health and wellbeing, also aims to enliven its neighborhood by featuring zero carbon emissions, renewable energy resources, green areas, and solar panels. Once complete in 2024, it will include co-working spaces, auditoriums, and meeting rooms in addition to restaurants, lounges, shops, a supermarket, and spaces for temporary exhibitions. 

Ultraviolet-emitting chips installed in light fixtures may be crucial in fighting the pandemic.

According to the technology company NS Nanotech, a new type of UV-emitting compact chips installed in light fixtures may help neutralize airborne coronavirus particles in public spaces. The chips, called ShortWaveLight Emitter, are expected to become commercially available later this year pending regulatory approval. Designers can source the chips, which are expected to cost less than $200, for use in light fixtures and other sanitizing devices. The chips may also deactivate influenza and other pathogens within minutes, potentially preventing more pandemics in the future. 

Harbin Polarland in China

Today’s attractive distractions:

A Chinese hotel that promises live polar bear viewings opens to some criticism.

Elon Musk forgoes the CEO moniker to become the new “Technoking” of Tesla. 

Hong Kong architects are forging sleek city benches from recycled ocean plastic.

The world’s first-ever remote tattoo gets needled by a robot arm on a 5G network.

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