Michel van der Aa’s Eight

Eight is a mixed reality project by the composer and director Michel van der Aa, featuring singer-songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke, the Nederlands Kamerkoor and Thys. Van der Aa has collaborated with designer Theun Mosk and virtual reality company The Virtual Dutch Men to create a unique, groundbreaking fusion of musical theatre, VR and visual art. 

You’re surrounded by darkness – a path on the floor is the only thing you can make out. You hear footsteps; an old woman comes walking towards you. Her hand reaches for the wall, it bends with her touch and stretches out into a curved hallway. When you follow the woman around the corner, you suddenly find yourself face to face with her younger self. 

Eight tells a woman’s poignant life story in reverse chronological order. Visitors, equipped with VR glasses and headphones, move one by one through an installation. They can manipulate physical and virtual objects, and meet the woman at various crucial moments in her life. The woman’s memories are spread out all across the flexible walls in the form of interactive hieroglyphs, ready to be activated. Actual hallways merge almost imperceptibly with virtual hallways, creating an infinite space.

On this project Thys took care of the sound design, drum programming and mixing.

New York Times: Eight is a Breakthrough for Virtual Reality in Classical Music