A woman beckons you to follow her. You leave the room you are in and before you know it an awe-inspiring natural wilderness surrounds you, a forested mountainside with the full cosmos beyond. You follow her towards a cliff edge. Sublime music fills your head as you reach for her hand just as the world transforms again.
No, you are not dreaming, it’s an entirely new form of interactive performance. This virtual reality installation, individually experienced one person at a time via a VR headset, is the long awaited breakthrough work that takes bug-riddled gimmickry into the realm of mind-expanding art.
Eight is neither a 3D film with a score nor concert music with accompanying "immersive" imagery. Visual and aural elements are for once of equal weight and quality. “Starring” and conceived for Kate Miller-Heidke, her superbly recorded voice is transporting, but you have a key supporting role beside her as tactile signals from your hands trigger the unfolding story.
Michel van der Aa is a composer who’s an equally gifted video artist. He has successfully integrated multi-media into his work for two decades and sees technology as “like adding a tuba in an orchestra. It’s a new colour; it’s a new possibility". You can sample his genre-defying pieces One, Up Close, and Blank Out online but this is something you must experience live.
Technophiles, music connoisseurs, fans of Kate or the simply curious: one by one you’ll be utterly swept away by this.
One of the most distinctive of the younger composers in Europe today. His ability to fuse music, text and visual images into a totally organic whole sets him apart from nearly all his contemporaries.
Rarely have modern techniques and ancient musical virtues coexisted more naturally.
The New Yorker
Event additional information
Composer/director/script Michel van der Aa
Actors/singers in VR Kate Miller-Heidke (mezzo-soprano), Livia van den Bercken (soprano), Vakil Eelman
Choir Nederlands Kamerkoor, conducted by Boudewijn Jansen