At Pioneer Works, Medusa shimmers to (virtual) life

Pioneer Works
159 Pioneer Street
Brooklyn, New York
Through April 16

High in the rafters of Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, a digital display too kinetic and dynamic to exist in the real world swims through space. As Medusa ebbs and flows, seafoam-green square slats shoot from the 40-foot-tall ceiling all the way to ground level with seemingly no regard for the humans below. Too large to be seen in its entirety, the oscillating portions of Medusa that can be viewed ripple back and forth like the flow of the aurora borealis, or eddies and gyres in the ocean. All of it swirls above a player piano performing a thalassic soundtrack written by Kelly Moran, who will be at Pioneer Works accompanying the display in person on April 8 and 15.

This installation at Pioneer Works is the first time Medusa has been staged in North America. It made its debut at the 2021 London Design Festival, held at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The multimedia nature of an interactive installation that spans both the real and digital worlds required an equally interdisciplinary team to realize it. That includes Tin Drum, a mixed reality art collective founded in 2016; scientist and project director Yoyo Munk; paleo-futuristic Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, who handled the actual architectural and design aspects; and pianist and composer Moran, whose original composition for the Brooklyn show riffs on the score written by Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto for Medusa’s inaugural showing in 2021. (Sakamoto, who lived in New York since 1990, died last week at the age of 71 due to cancer.)

medusa installation view
Digital rendering of Medusa at Pioneer Works (Courtesy Pioneer Works and Tin Drum)