Eight is a mixed reality project by the composer and director Michel van der Aa, featuring singer-songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke and the Nederlands Kamerkoor. 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.
The music that plays throughout the installation forms the centrepiece of the album “Time Falling” that was released in 2020.
Eight was commissioned by the Holland Festival, Festival International d’Art Lyrique d’Aix-en-Provence, Château La Coste, Beijing Music Festival, KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen, and Helsinki Festival. With support of Fonds Podiumkunsten, Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Gieskes-Strijbis Fonds, Ammodo, Nederlands Kamerkoor, and doubleA Foundation
Kate Miller-Heidke – Mezzo-soprano/actress
Livia Kolk – Soprano/actress
Vakil Eelman – Actress
Nederlands Kamerkoor, cond. Boudewijn Jansen
Michel van der Aa – Composer/director/script
Theun Mosk – Design installation and set VR
The Virtual Dutch Men – VR creation & production
Madelon Kooijman, Niels Nuijten – Dramaturges
Thijs de Vlieger – Music producer
Esmee Thomassen – Costume/Styling
Ellen van Bunnik (’n More) – Production Manager
Siemen van der Werf – Technical director
Rosita Wouda (doubleA foundation) – Financial director
The Virtual Dutch Men
Roelof Terpstra – Producer
Richard de Paauw – Lead Developer
Ahnill Christiaans – Assistant Developer
Ruben von Piekartz – 3D modeller
Vytautas Udalovas – Assistant 3D modeller
Stefan Leushuis – Technical Lead
Tim Moelard – Creative Lead
Bart Kok – Production Advisor
Ivo Slivkov – Lead Character animation/ Motion Capture specialist
Tristan Bethe – Photogrammetry specialist (Th3rd)