Citizens — The Living Portrait of NYC

What does it mean to be a New Yorker? As part of their recent arrival in NYC, Citizens commissioned a multimedia, multi-sensory exhibition to celebrate the unique elements that make New York, New York. Set Reset were tasked with creating the Data Portrait - an immersive large format animation exploring the data behind life in the Big Apple.

Created from a combination of our own research and a commissioned survey, the narrative focussed on the human experience of being a New Yorker. From money and living space, to food and recreation, each chapter is a data-driven deepdive into life in the big city. We developed a bold visual style to match, rationalised down to the simplest forms, while retaining the details and quirks that showcase the character of New York. With the city grid as inspiration, we created a toolkit of geometric forms that could be multiplied and extrapolated as the story required, using a mixture of traditional visualisation and playful illustration. A palette of vibrant colours maximised visual impact while giving a nod to the NYC’s rich cultural diversity.

We took advantage of the scale of the room to bring data into context, while generative particle systems echoed the bustle of the streets outside.

Three touchscreen kiosks provided opportunities for people to respond to the data through an interactive quiz. Attendees could see their responses visualised against everyone else, revealing how much of a New Yorker they really were. The kiosk colours were synchronised with the animation and lighting, creating an ever-changing immersive experience in tribute to a city that never stands still.

The Living Portrait of NYC exhibition ran from 18—27 September 2022 at Iron23, 29 W 23rd St, New York City.