Medusa
Tin Drum

Pioneer Works is pleased to present Medusa, an ambitious mixed reality experience developed by Tin Drum in collaboration with architect Sou Fujimoto and directed by Yoyo Munk. This marks Medusa’s North American premiere, following its debut at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum in 2021 during the London Design Festival.


Bridging art, science, music, and technology, Medusa comprises a unique and evolving mixed reality experience that envelops visitors within a new realm of physicality, visuality, and sound. The experience explores contrasts between individual and collective ways of being, and between non-human and human-made architectures, drawing inspiration from natural structures in the upper atmosphere and the deep sea.


Visitors are invited to experience the project using optically transparent glasses that overlay virtual architecture onto the real world, transporting them to a sensory realm, unlike anything seen before. Through the glasses, thousands of hanging vertical columns appear in Pioneer Works’ cavernous Main Hall, responding to the collective behavior of the space’s visitors. As it evolves, the architecture of Medusa carries with it memories of previous iterations, changing and transforming as it interacts with new audiences.


Sound is an equally key component, with a changing soundscape accompanying the experience. In its first iteration, Medusa featured a melodic progression, composed by the legendary musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, that was spatialized and combined with recordings of undersea drones. At Pioneer Works, Brooklyn-based composer Kelly Moran will contribute to the evolving soundscape by expanding upon Sakamoto’s score with a new original composition and durational performance.


“Medusa addresses themes of architecture and nature, permanence and fragility, signal and noise, individual and collective. It provides a space for contemplation in times of rapid change, where divisions that may have once felt solid are disintegrating and reshaping themselves, a mirror through which we might see one reflection of the nature of our foundational assumptions and the consequences that have emerged from them,” says Munk. “We are thrilled to collaborate with Pioneer Works to bring the experience—and this sense of wonder—to new audiences.”


In addition to a series of durational performances held in the installation, Pioneer Works’s 2023 presentation of Medusa will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated compendium with contributions from Munk, Fujimoto, artist James Bridle, entomologist Seirian Sumner, and writers Octavia Bright, and Veronica Strang. The publication will explore themes present in the work such as the relationships between architecture and nature, permanence and fragility, the individual and the collective, and signal and noise. It will be published and distributed by Hurtwood Press, London, to be released in March 2023, with copies available at Pioneer Works at the time of the installation’s opening.


About Tin Drum


Tin Drum is the world’s premier studio producing content for mixed reality devices. Founded in 2016 by Todd Eckert, this collective of artists, engineers, designers, and technologists blends uniquely dimensional form with the real world to create experiences impossible through other media. The results are without modern precedent, and are changing the definition of engagement in recorded performance. Tin Drum creates content in collaboration with world-renowned artists, creators, and performers. In partnership with Christie’s, Tin Drum was the first to sell a mixed reality production at auction.


Yoyo Munk is a scientist and artist working with emerging media to explore novel directions within shared experience, architecture of virtual environments, and interactivity at the scale of the collective. Their mixed reality directorial debut, Medusa, premiered as the headlining installation of the London Design Festival in 2021 and was heralded by Dezeen as one of the top ten installation works of that year worldwide. They hold a PhD in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley.


Sou Fujimoto was born in Hokkaido, Japan in 1971. After graduating from the Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering at Tokyo University, he established “Sou Fujimoto Architects” in 2000. In 2016, his work “Mille Arbres” won the 1st prize for one of the 23 sites in the French competition, “Réinventer Paris,” following the triumph in the Invited International Competition for the New Learning Center at Paris-Saclay's Ecole Polytechnique in 2015 and in the International Competition for the Second Folly of Montpellier and “Liget Budapest House of Hungarian Music” in 2014 when he was awarded “The Wall Street Journal Architecture Innovator Award.” In 2013, he became the youngest architect to accept the invitation to design the annual summer pavilion for the Serpentine Gallery in London. In 2012, he participated in the exhibition for the Japan Pavilion in the International Architecture Exhibition – “La Biennale di Venezia,” which was awarded “The Golden Lion for Best National Participation.” Among other multiple awards, he was granted the first prize of the international competition for “Taiwan Tower” and “Beton Hala Waterfront Center” in 2011, and the Grand Prize for “AR Awards 2006” (Children’s Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation). His most important works include “the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2013” (2013), “House NA” (2011), “Musashino Art University Museum & Library” (2010), “Final Wooden House”(2008), and “House N” (2008). Forthcoming projects include Polytechnique University, France (2023) and the Town Office and Cultural Complex at HIgashi Kagura, Hokkaido (2024).

Tin Drum: Medusa is supported in part by Yamaha Artist Services New York, as well as public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in Partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.