Olivia Mc Gilchrist

Jonkonnu / Gens Inconnus, 2015-2017

VR experience for Oculus Rift

A cube-shaped pine box with decorative engravings atop a wooden structure houses an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset in which the viewer interacts with a virtual video installation of traditional Jamaica Carnival ‘Jonkonnu’ performers.  As the viewer puts on the Oculus Rift, she enters a 3D space in which two perspectives of this Carnival performance are blended and juxtaposed across the three virtual gallery screens, and the spatialized 3D sound follows the viewer’s gaze.


3x10min. video sequences with spatialized 3D sound, Oculus GEAR VR, headphones, wooden structure

Photogrammetry by P. Gauvin (2017)

In collaboration with the Carlton Walters Jonkonnu Band  (St Mary, Jamaica) 





Artist Statement:

Visually and thematically, I’m looking at water and submersion as an immersive device on the threshold of contemplative experience and embodied interaction. I’m concerned with new forms of immersive visual storytelling and how they function for a creative expression that subverts the reality of racial, social and gender based categorization, classification and discrimination from non-Western spaces like the contemporary Caribbean and it’s global diaspora. I’m inspired by live performance, poetry and water/submersion as immersive platforms on the threshold of contemplative experience and embodied interaction, at the intersection of spaces for high art and popular entertainment. I’m drawing on traditional storytelling, YouTube comments, and video installations to design VR experiences and environments where the lines between user experience and co-creation are blurred. The Post colonial experience of dual, hybrid or mixed identities is considered here as a useful framework to examine the debates around the hegemony of a ‘western’ conception of the body, currently confronted with Virtual, Augmented and Mixed realities’ hybrid experiences of presence.    


Biographical note:

Born in Jamaica (1981) to a French Mother and a Jamaican Father, we left the island when I was four and I returned to live and work there between 2011-2014. Since then, I’m exploring translocation and my mixed European-Caribbean cultural identity across the different spaces I live and work in. By juxtaposing parallel realities through photographs, video installations and VR, elements of the ‘exotic’ are re-appropriated, and remapped to evoke the complexity of hybrid identities in the ‘new world’. I completed my Master’s in Photography at the London College of Communication in 2010. In 2014-2015, I took Concordia’s Graduate Certificate in Design and Computation Arts. I am taking an Individualized PhD in Arts, Education and Immersive Technology at Concordia University, Montréal, Canada.

If you are interested in exhibiting or viewing this artistic VR experience, please send an email to us.