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15 November 2006 @ 08:19 pm
experiences of Dream Temple  

Now in a "purified" state, visitors proceed to the largest and most recent work of the exhibit. Dream Temple is an enormous octagonal structure made of iridescent glass and plastic which stands 5.2 meters high and is 11 meters in diameter. The technological complexity as well as the apparent material costs are testament to the financial power of the exhibit’s fashionable sponsors, including the Prada Foundation, Shiseido, Sony and other extremely profitable Japanese companies. This is a marked departure from the artist’s previous issues around consumerism. Instead, Mori proclaims to have created a utopian place, stating that visiting Dream Temple "should make one feel like they are taking part in a ceremony that takes them back to a state of mind before birth." After replacing one’s shoes with fitted white slippers, a gallery employee ushers each person to the front passage, where they must enter the temple’s core alone. Through the automatic glass entryway, a womb-like shell closes. Wearing headphones and sitting seiza (on the knees) for almost five minutes, the visitor watches a 3D projection on the curved screen while ambient music echoes through the headphones.

On leaving Dream Temple’s hub, the gallery guide bows deeply, and thanks each visitor for their effort; she then delivers each guest’s shoes and bows again.

...Mori’s gezamtkunstwerk succeeds about as well as an Orwellian feelie, offering us a playhouse of disquieting forfeit and a tempting state of (un)consciousness.

--via Namiko Kunimoto


Visitors can enter the structure (with appointment, and one at a time), and be sealed in a chamber which resembles the inside of a giant basketball. Here there are headphones playing spacey music and a concave screen on which is projected a four minute video program of abstract cosmic imagery, although I did think I saw a frisbee in there somewhere.

--via assemblylanguage.com


The final room contains Dream Temple, 1999, inspired by the eighth-century "Temple of Dreams" in the Buddhist monastery of Horyuji. A large canopy ornamented with gigantic pearls made of Murano glass surmounts an octagonal structure, which rests, like a luminous spaceship, on a glimmering carpet of salt and tiny shards of glittery plastic. The solidity of the construction evaporates in the delicacy of its outer materials - fiberglass, plastic, and iridescent glass - which emanate a halolike shimmer. Dream Temple appears as a utopian site, where the fusion of tradition and technology brings to light the experience of beauty grasped in an eternal present.

A white quartz rests beneath the temple. This is the crystal of purification of the seventh chakra, which encourages the opening of the head's "crown" to create a channel with the absolute. The entire architecture thus symbolically becomes an extraordinary vehicle of communication. After climbing eight steps of dichroic glass, the visitor enters the temple's inner sanctum, within which he or she can sit and watch a three-dimensional projection of digital images. Mori invents a universe of forms in incessant mutation: Atoms become planets; darkness is transformed into a blinding sun. These images evoke the Big Bang, as well as the formation of cells in a fertilized egg - a cosmic womb in which the human and the universal become one. Mori reveals the ultimate state of the highly evolved human spirit, as the weaver between the relative and the absolute, the spider of existence weaving the tapestry of creation.

--via art forum


The Dream Temple, and related works such as the Garden of Purification, combine architecture, digital technologies, and photography in an almost literally indescribable manner, fulfilling Mori's desire to represent the unrepresentable future, even as its iconography zooms backward in time to feudal Japan. Based on the early seventh-century Yumedono temple, Mori's version exploits digital imaging techniques as well as dichroic glass--an iridescent glass changing in aspect from every angle--to create an apparently timeless, disembodied structure.

--via Interior Design (New York, N.Y.) 70 no.10 148-53 Aug 1999