Children seen playing at the Light Ball Orchestra attraction at the Teamlab Digital Future Park in Plaza Indonesia shopping mall. (Photo Courtesy of Magnifique)

Teamlab Future Park Encourages Children to Interact With Technology and Themselves

BY :SYLVIANA HAMDANI

JUNE 11, 2017

Jakarta. Technology, whether it be social media or video games, is oft to blame for today's disappearance of children from playgrounds and other outdoor, recreational spots. Instead of playing with their friends, children are increasingly opting to partake in social life through phones and computers.

But parents can not truly forbid kids from interacting with technology, as it is now a main instrument in our everyday life and may hold an even more important role in the future.

"None of us can halt technology's development, so we might as well embrace it," said Astri Abyanti, Plaza Indonesia's senior manager of digital marketing and public relations.

"If used correctly, technology can also encourage kids to be creative, imaginative and even interact more with their friends."

Following that strategy, the Plaza Indonesia shopping mall in Central Jakarta invited Japan-based organization Teamlab to create an interactive "edu-tainment" exhibition at The Warehouse, located on the mall's fifth floor.

The exhibition, named Teamlab Future Park, was officially opened last Sunday (04/06).

"We're so happy to be [in Indonesia]," said Akitae Matsumoto, chief executive of Teamlab Kids. "Our attractions encourage children to play, move around and explore new skills through digital technology."

Teamlab was initially founded by Japanese mathematician Toshiyuki Inoko and four of his friends in Tokyo in 2001.

The organization collaborates frequently with architects, artists, animators, graphic designers, programmers and many other experts to open art and technology exhibitions around the world.

Teamlab currently has exhibitions running in cities in Canada, China, Japan, the United States and of course, Indonesia.

In Jakarta, the organization has prepared seven attractions catered to child development, combining creative art with the latest in digital technologies.

"Kids of all ages can enjoy them," Matsumoto said.

Children below 13 years old, however, should be accompanied by an adult, Matsumoto says.

Teamlab Future Park is housed in a 700 square meter space within The Warehouse, whose walls are darkened to amplify the effects of giant LED screens dotted across the walls. Both children and adults were seen interacting with huge screens on opening day.

One of the exhibitions main displays, Sketch Town, encourages children to draw cars, buildings and spaceships with crayons.

"Afterwards, we'll scan the [colored drawing] and it will automatically be compiled with other drawings to make a digital town," said Sani, a staff member that supervises the attraction.

The drawings, comprised of buildings and futuristic vehicles, contort and move around if interacted with on the monitors.

To keep the kids on their feet, the creators of Sketch Town incorporated a monster that appears from time to time, and children are encouraged to work together and direct their vehicles to attack it.

Children can also have their colored drawings scanned into 3D papercraft to take home and put on the refrigerator.

Another attraction, the Light Ball Orchestra, encourages kids to play with lighted balls.

"The balls change colors when they roll and bump into each other," Dira, a staff that supervises the attraction, said. "They also emit melodious tones so that kids can learn to make their own music, as well as recognize many different colors in the attraction."

Another attraction, named Story of the Time When Gods Were Everywhere, encourage children to be imaginative and create their own imaginative worlds.

By touching the symbols on the LED screens, kids can create trees, mountains, rivers and animals, which move or change place when touched. They can also collaborate with other children and fill their universe with many different creatures.

Teamlab Future Park will run until Oct. 8.

"We hope many will come and enjoy themselves at our exhibition," Matsumoto said. "If this event is successful, we hope to bring it to many other cities in Indonesia."

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