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Ellen Baker - "You and I"

About the Artist:

Ellen Baker is a multimedia animator and painter.  Her practice blends the digital and hand drawn with a focus on storytelling.  She will soon graduate from the Ohio State University with degrees in Studio Art (Art & Technology) and Chinese.


You and I

Animation, 2020, 1 minute and 50 seconds


My intimacy with digital technology has had a profound impact on my methods of love.  Using smartphones, my partner and I have been able to build a mutual environment in which we can nurture our romantic relationship despite a 9,450 mile physical and cultural distance.  In our digital world, we can be close together using clock applications to calculate when to say good morning to each other, translation and language learning programs to strengthen our communication, media subscriptions to share music and watch movies together, and video calling to see each other’s faces.  Within this space, there is a sense of comfort, normality, and intimacy.  Yet the online world we interact with is much more vast than the realm of our relationship.  Every day, he and I feed enormous data collection systems, are cradled by acres of hardware, and help generate massive amounts of profit for companies which dominate our economy.  Consequently, our communication is warped to become quantifiable, generating numbers that track personal and otherwise immeasurable experiences. And yet, a combination of love, ignorance, and careful design is able to give us a space where we feel privacy  and safety together.  Just as my partner and I attempt to use technological means as a medium of emotional expression, my digital animation, You and I, uses the context of the technological to capture, reprocess, and communicate the organic; telling our story by similar means to which it is set.