Sunday, November 17, 2019

Lights, camera, action-packed: MotoGP™ gets an art attack in Tokyo

Oct 17. 2019
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By The Nation

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Riders trip the light fantastic at the unforgettable teamLab Borderless

The Motul Grand Prix of Japan is just around the corner, and for many in the paddock that means one thing: a little time in Tokyo. The stunning Japanese metropolis stretches horizon to horizon and could entertain for an eternity, but this year there was one particular experience in store for MotoGP™: teamLab Borderless.

What is it? A museum, but not the kind that would first come to mind for most. A multi-sensory, audio-visual experience, teamLab Borderless is a world of artworks without borders that interact with, influence and compliment each other to perfection - as well as immersing every visitor in a truly unique experience. No two experiences are ever the same, because the art also reacts to the people there to enjoy it.

The fantastic five making their way through the space before hitting the road to the Twin Ring Motegi were home heroes Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing), as well as Beta Tools Speed Up teammates Jorge Navarro and Fabio Di Giannantonio, with their visit beginning in a particularly spectacular exhibit: the Forest of Resonating Lamps.

Lamps, mirrors and light create a 360 degree experience in the Forest, with the colours changing and the brightness of each lamp ebbing and flowing as the installation interacts with the people in the room. Touch one, it reacts - and the riders had a good few minutes to tap, hold, poke and wonder.

Top photo L-R: "Universe of Water Particles on a Rock where People Gather" quite literally: Sasaki, Suzuki, Nakagami, Di Giannantonio and Navarro

 
The beauty of the musuem certainly resonated with Suzuki, Di Giannantonio, Nakagami, Sasaki and Navarro (L-R)

Nakagami in the Forest of Lamps...

...which has more than one party trick
 

Next it was time to wander through the Crystal World; a stunning light and sound display that mirrors a myriad of different elements from nature. And you can 'choose your nature', with each having different sounds, speeds, colours, brightness and effects. The riders chose a few different ones, and the photographers? It was a patient game waiting for the random cycle of options to try and recreate that perfect shot. Or at least, come as close as possible within the ever-changing display. 

 
Throwing some shapes in a spectacular space: the Crystal World

Mirror, mirror, on every wall

Taka strikes a pose
 

From the stunning light of the Crystal World, the riders next saw the Forest of Flowers and People and Animals Born of Flowers in the Flower Forest - with the walls all seeming to move at once with a cacophony of colour. And the flowers bloom from your feet, creating new shoots that grow and go on to interact with those around them. 

 
L-R: Navarro, Nakagami, Sasaki, Di Giannantonio and Suzuki in bloom
Suzuki amongst the flowers
 

The incredible Universe of Water Particles on a Rock where People Gather awaited next. Cascading down the wall, the artwork is another that reacts to the touch of those who approach it; moving to accommodate and surround each person who sits on the 'rock' formation at the bottom. As well as everyone else. The centrepiece of one of the biggest spaces in teamLab Borderless, it captivated the group for a good while before they set sail for the light sculpture space and Black Waves, where you're surrounded by a digital ocean of crashing waves.

 
Don't go chasing waterfalls: let them surround you

Sasaki has a moment of zen and the artwork moves around him

...as 'Diggia' limbers up for the GP
 

Finally, the visit ended in the Athletics Forest, where there's everything from a stunning, star-studded trampoline to a flower-covered slide - and of course, a brief little bit of racing as the natural born competitor came out. And the Weightless Forest of Resonating Life proved a hit too, with huge bulb-shaped lights that move and change colour as people pass through - or bump into them. After drawing an underwater creature each - many of which proved MotoGP™-themed - and scanning them into a digital aquarium to each swim their own way, the riders then emerged back into the bright daylight of Tokyo to also head off to their next stops.

Via the odd pitstop or two, that's Motegi for all five - so make it your destination too and tune in for the Motul Grand Prix of Japan this weekend.

 
Suzuki, 'Diggia', Sasaki, Navarro and Nakagami in the Weightless Forest, one of the latter stops 
 

Takaaki Nakagami: "Absolutely amazing. It was really nice to be there, it's really emotional and I didn't expect it to be like that inside. I enjoyed it and I think everyone did, seeing the designs and the music, the light...everything is impressive. Thanks to MotoGP for inviting me and teamLab. If we have time I want to go with my family and go again!

"This is my home GP and the weather looks a bit unstable on Friday and Saturday but Sunday looks good and that's important for the race, but anyway...as always I feel a lot of pressure with the Japanese fans, year by year I feel so many fans come to Motegi and give me a lot of energy. I'll try my best as always and maybe this weekend I'll have a little extra power from the fans! I'll do my best."

Tatsuki Suzuki: "it's emotional to come here. It makes me really happy because it's so beautiful and it's Japanese technology, really really fantastic. And I'm really proud to be Japanese. This summer when I came back to Japan I also came here but it's so fantastic, people from outside Japan have to come here to see it. I'm so happy to be here and now, we'll see in Motegi."

Ayumu Sasaki: "It's the first time I've been here and it's a really nice place. It's quite close to my house - like 35 or 40 minutes but I'd never been and it was a really great experience.

"My last few races have been tough but I had a good feeling and the speed to fight for the podium so I hope i can fight for the podium at Motegi and get my first podium in the World Championship in front of the home fans."

Jorge Navarro: "It was a really cool experience with the effects and the lights, and at the end we even finished up drawing a bit, it was really fun. I think the room with the pillows was good cause I'm pretty tired haha...but no, being serious, the one with all the changing effects with the lights was really good."

Fabio Di Giannantonio: "It has been a great experience, I like artistic things and there are a lot of cool effects, it's been really nice. I like the waterfall, the big waterfall and the interactive screen where you can touch the wall and create trees and flowers...that was really nice."

 
Honda heroes visit the Honda Collection Hall at Motegi

L-R: Spencer, Marquez, Redman, Lorenzo and Takahashi

Wednesday hosted a special event in the magnificent Honda Collection Hall as 2019 MotoGP™ World Champion Marc Marquez and his teammate, five-time World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, joined up with some Honda legends ahead of the Motul Grand Prix of Japan.

Joining the 2020 Repsol Honda line-up were MotoGP™ Legends Jim Redman and Freddie Spencer, as well as home hero Kunimitsu Takahashi, making it three generations of Honda Champions meeting the international and national media at the event.

And before that? Honda Collection Hall technicians were on hand to start some of the classic Honda racing machines and let those gathered hear them roar back into life.

 

L-R: Takahashi, Spencer, Marquez, Lorenzo and Redman

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