The Phantom of the Officer's Daughter:
A (Vertical) Love Story
Inspired by Cecile B Evan’s Hyperlinks or it didn’t happen and Hito Steyerl’s essay “In Freefall: A Thought Experiment on Vertical Perspective”, this short essay film tells of a story set in a post colonial hyper reality. Through motion capture animation, a drone and a 19th century portrait named “Okichi” come to life and converse about the politics of verticality, their digital mortality, and identity/representation crises. Okichi discusses her life as a physical body, living in 19th century Japan. Her history is urban legend, as it tells of a dark story that ends in her suicide by drowning in a lake. She discusses her “afterlife”, as a flat image that travels through inter-dimensional networks via Google Arts and Culture, yet her new life seems to show repetitions in patriarchal and colonial limitations that her old life also had. The drone ruminates on their fleeting relationships with the birds in the sky, as it yearns for a freedom that seems unattainable yet written with possibilities. The two characters penetrate and appropriate the ability to travel from network to network, exploring parallel histories and the impermanence of being human.
"A laudable achievement."
- Chris Hill, film curator
"[The] film takes me on a journey into a multi-dimensional landscape in which virtual realities, technologies, and human life all intersect. The multiple narrative of wounded souls sets me on an emotional journey where I wonder who will triumph in the end... [The film] is descriptive and penetrates past my intellect into my emotions."
- Iyabo Kwayana, director of Macarrao, cinematographer of Palenque
- Charlotte Hong