If you’re tired of stuffy visits to your local bank, chinese Studio DEM inc may just have the antidote. Located in the lobby of the CTBC Bank headquarters in Taipei, Taiwan, “circulum formosa – being here” (a collaboration between DEM inc and TeamLab) is an immersive digital interactive installation, that sees vibrant scenes of wildlife and nature recreated on a monumental display of synergistic screens. Rather than hassle you about that tracker mortgage, “being here” instead lets you interact with fish, wildcats, and the diverse wildlife native to the region.
“Architecturally, the piece aims to augment the cavernous bank lobby; infusing it with natural elements”, explains DEM inc, “filling the enormous chamber with natural features, all while maintaining a sense of openness and space”. The custom designed screens soften the lobby’s angularity with light and simulated nature, and echo the vertical and horizontal lines of the space’s existing design. To bring its vision to life, DEM entrusted the Japanese art collective TeamLab with the art direction and programming. Seven different sections and thirty-six individual surfaces — containing in excess of 35 million pixels — cover some 300 square meters of screens.
Thematically, the installation features animals and sounds native to Taiwan and incorporates the twelve chinese zodiac animals into its detailed environments. Each month the animals change their location, and the installation evolves seasonally. Visitors trigger thunderstorms, bring rainbows to glowing life, can watch a sunrise or a sunset, gaze at the starlit sky or hop from lily to lily over a coy pond. On screen, the animals respond to each visitor’s presence by warily moving towards them, inviting playful interaction and investigation.