An unprecedented tilt brush art show featuring young artists' voices on social issues

An art show like no other, Open Your Eyes invites guests to don a VR headset and view over 18 pieces of art drawn around a social issue, all completely created in Tilt Brush by artists from all disciplines. Initially planned for guests of the Hofstra Presidential Debates, Open Your Eyes was such a resounding success that it was invited by the Obama White House to the second South by South Lawn (SXSL), where the experience was shown to members of government as well as to the lucky public who managed to be chosen for a ticket. 

The Challenge

MTV’s Elect This campaign was looking for a way to engage with young people during the pivotal 2016 election year using emerging technology and approached Viacom NEXT to pitch several ideas.

They were interested in using VR as there was an excitement over the technology but were unsure of the throughput of an experience. They also wanted to make sure that whatever the execution of the project, that there might be a chance to give voices to creators whom might not have had otherwise an opportunity to get in front of lawmakers, civil servants, and attendees of the Hofstra Presidential Debates.

The Concept

Inspired by the idea of a New Museum exhibit using strapless VR headsets as a relatively frictionless, handheld window into a world; we laid out similar strapless headsets on a counter, but instead also augmenting them with a separate headset with hand controllers on a small stage nearby. This headset was connected to a projector, allowing for passersby to view an artist create an artwork in situ. 

In the 6 months leading up the Hofstra debates, we also sourced, reviewed, hired and trained over three dozen artists from all walks of the aesthetic life – architects, mural artists, painters, sculptors and so on – in how to use Google’s Tilt Brush as a medium.

My Role: Creative Director

After being approached by MTV’s Public Affair’s division, I conceived of 5 treatments, pitched, and championed the overall vision for this project. 

Once the project was green-lit and awarded, I directed the vision of the overall project, managed the P&L, and served as the lead point person for MTV and our external partners; in addition to  managing our internal team in sourcing fabrication for the physical portions of the artwork. Together with Creative Producer Matt Hanson, we interviewed and screened over 60 different artists before arriving at the final 18. I spent time with all of the individual artists, discussing their visions and goals for each artwork, and offered recommendations on ways they could make full use of the fluidity of space in virtual reality; including explaining to many sculptors that they can now forget about the limitations of physical reality and ignore gravity!

When our project was selected to be at the White House, I served with Casey Acierno from MTV Public Affairs as the main project leads to the Obama Administration, which included managing resources, timeline, and personnel for the event.


Executive Producer
Chaki Ng
Ronnie Cho

Supervising Producer
Casey Acierno

Creative Director
David Liu

Creative Producer
Matt Hanson

Special Thanks


Dave Persue
Ada Rajkovic
Sam Stewart
Shaun O’Connor
Hayden Zezula
Fabiola Lara
Wane Cod
Grace Miceli
Jon Santos
Illma Gore
Sasha Lynillo
Thank You X
Kristian Mercado
Tyler Wallach
Renda Writer

Setting up at the Hofstra presidential debates
Open Your Eyes was originally planned for just the Hofstra Debates. This was the space at Hofstra University where we exhibited both the lenticular prints and the VR art pieces.

Giving the space at Hofstra a walkthrough before the presidential debates. We added rows of lenticular prints of the artwork to increase throughput in the event the headsets that we had on the counters proved to be too popular. That turned out to be a wise decision.

Setting up on the South Lawn
Building up our lenticular and VR booth amidst the rain on the lawn.
Patrick Hackett, Co-Creator of Tilt Brush, showing off the tools in Tilt Brush
Patrick Hackett, creator of Tilt Brush, showing off some of the tools in Tilt Brush
Chaki at the White House
Chaki posing in front of the White House just before SXSL officially opens.