Constructed Virtual Reality Landscapes

In this interactive exhibit, designed by an interdisciplinary team at DePauw University, the viewer is invited to augment historical Japanese landscapes by applying emotional transformations to create novel works that are constructed from an existing painting. This allows viewers to express a part of their “inner essence” through the newly enhanced landscape.

The viewer chooses one of several Emoji (a concept that originated in Japan to represent emotions using icons) and tosses them at the landscapes. When an Angry, Sad, or Dream-like Emoji touches a painting, the landscape is reconstructed through the lens of that Emoji. The viewer can also toss a reset icon to return landscapes to their original state.

The team employed HTC Vive virtual reality technology for this exhibit.

Have a look at a variety of media taken from within the experience and the gallery space.

The Interdisciplinary Project Team

  • Keisuke Ohtani '19, Computer Science Major - "Starting from one assignment in Independent Studies, I am glad the project is now part of the exhibit. "
  • Althea Jinzhi Que '21, Communications and Studio Art Major - "I've never thought that I can participate in such an amazing project! "
  • Dave Berque, Professor of Computer Science - "What a great job. The experience is wonderful! "
  • Hiroko Chiba, Professor of Modern Languages (Japanese) - "Thank you so much for this wonderful work. I will plan on bringing my classes! "
  • Pauline Ota, Associate Professor of Art and Art History (History of Japanese Art) - "Keisuke and Althea, really impressive work you two! "
  • Michael Boyles, Director of Tenzer Technology Center - "I've seen a few VR installations over the years, and I think this one is really great! "
  • Craig Hadley, Director/Curator with rank of Assistant Professor - "Can't wait for everyone to see it. It's already getting some good use. "


The team would like to extend our gratitude to Chris Bibat '19. In summer 2018, Chris built the original virtual reality experience that inspired this work. And thanks to Joel Bottoms, Cade Wright '21 and Vy Hoang '21 for help with the media.