All Articles
All Articles

Garson Yu: The Interactive New York (T.I.N.Y.)


Garson Yu: The Interactive New York (T.I.N.Y.)

Layers of audio and visuals create a reactionary site-specific installation at NYC's Pier 57

by Karen Day
on 31 May 2013

As the founder and creative director of yU+co, a renowned LA-based studio specialized in film title sequences, Garson Yu knows a thing or two about telling a story in a matter of minutes. Yu's creative expertise usually graces the silver screen, but for the first site-specific installation in a series of interventions taking place at NYC's Pier 57 this summer, the motion graphics guru will apply his talent to the sides of shipping containers. Originally hung by Madrid-based architecture firm CH+QS Arquitectos for a sculptural installation dubbed "Magic Carpet," some of the 36 containers have now been lowered for Yu to use as the foundation for projecting footage that his son Adrian—a film student at NYU—shot around NYC with a team of budding filmmakers.

garson-yu-tiny-2.jpg garson-yu-tiny-7.jpg

Yu told us he had a very clear vision of the specific moments he wanted them to capture around the city, which would result in "The Interactive New York (T.I.N.Y.)"—15 minutes of cinematic visuals with which you can interact using your voice. Each container has its own microphone and you control the portion of the film projected onto it. A low frequency can rewind the film and a high frequency can move the film forward. Sudden sounds and various ways of manipulating your voice all affect the visual element. One scene offers the chance to shoot a seagull with a laser beam by saying "Boom boom boom!" into the mic, while another allows you to distort a girl's lips and face by alternating the pitch of your voice. "There is a lot of fun interaction that you will discover," Yu explains.

To deliver such a tightly coordinated real-time experience—which Yu says is "pushing the envelope" with technology—his international team of programmers built two "super-duper fast" servers that are capable of 128 frames/second so the footage can rewind or move back and forth really quickly, "so that everything is instantaneous." There is also the complexity of having projections and interaction programmed for each individual shipping container. This is all compounded by booming audio and a dark warehouse setting, which only heighten the indoor sensory adventure.


Garson is not an interaction designer, but his work revolves around the connections between sound, movement and imagery. "I come from a motion design background. It's hard to describe a motion, but if you go to any of our creative meetings, motion designers will describe motion by sound. So it's going to be "ch-ch-ch-ch" or "zoom!"—you have to visualize the sound. Because of that we kind of develop this software that will be able to help the visual," he explains. Yu also offers insight into how this artistic exhibition, and others of its nature, help in technological advancements. "For anyone to push the envelope in terms of technology, everything always comes from the imagination of an idea, and the story and the narrative that you want to tell. We try to figure out how to realize that, and that is how we will develop new technology," says Yu.


"The backward and forward images go along with the idea of memories, which goes throughout the entire piece. It's a life journey, basically," Yu explains. He has rearranged the shipping containers to resemble a subway platform, with a row down the center that creates a walkway, which is meant to serve as a metaphor for a train. The end of the tunnel is sealed off so that when you walk through the "train" you come to an open garage door that offers views of the historic pier outside of the installation.


On weekends the installation is geared more for children and includes a scavenger hunt based on words and sounds. The containers will have miniature speakers and a letter associated to each one that plays sounds like a dog barking or an ocean wave. Kids choose a word, like "dream" for example, and run around finding the sound associated with the letters, spelling the word in order to create their own story based on the sequence of the sounds. They can then write their story on the chalkboard walls inside the central tunnel.

"The Interactive New York (T.I.N.Y.)" runs from 1-16 June 2013 and is open from 9am-7pm daily with limited access on weekdays and full access on weekends at Pier 57.

Images by Karen Day

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft
Loading More...