I See You
virtual reality multimedia art piece co-created by filmmaker Eboni Johnson, digital artist Hannah Ottinger, and composer-performer Aleyna Brown
Creation and Commentary
“I See You” (2020) is an immersive virtual reality experience featuring elements of documentary film, 3-D digital art, and music. Co-created with filmmaker Eboni Johnson and painter Hannah Ottinger, “I See You” asks poignant questions surrounding femininity, womanhood, gender and power, women in leadership, and the objectification that comes from that ever-present male gaze. My collaborators and I traced themes in the responses from our participants as well as our own experiences and created “I See You” as an artistic stance of solidarity for women at all intersections experiencing patriarchal oppression.
Hannah Ottinger specializes in floriography through the medium of painting. Floriography suggests symbolic connections from certain flower types, patterns, and arrangements. With the inspiration of our documentary participants and our own experiences, Hannah photographed a time-lapse of the lifecycle of a red rose drowning in a ‘toxic vat’ that she made of chemicals in a vase meant to kill the flower—representative of the many obstacles and barriers to women’s livelihood and the damaging effects of toxic masculinity.
However, in our artistic commentary, the death of the flower was not the end. Rather, it rebounds, comes back to life, and blooms once again—representative of the resilience, strength, and beauty of femininity. Hannah captured this reversal of the flower life cycle in a digital painting that became the foundation for the three-dimensional virtual reality environment.
Eboni Johnson transformed the documentary footage into overlapping and immersive clips in the 360-degree video space, created in Adobe PremierePro.
To enhance the immersive and multi-sensory experience of the piece, I created a fixed media track in Pro Tools that incorporated the interview audio in fragmented, layered, collaged, juxtaposed speech fragments along with electronic pad layers, electronic percussion, and my self-recorded flute and voice improvisations. Post-production included spatialization considerations like panning and reverb for optimal immersion into the virtual reality space.
Together, this VR intermedia experience shines a light on both the struggles and the progress the United States has made towards a gender-equal society by providing personal insight from a diverse group of women combined with the powerful imagery and symbolism of floriography and music.
Watch in 360 Video
Download and open in YouTube App on a mobile device. Headphones encouraged for best immersive listening experience. Navigate and explore by moving your device around.