Into the Light

A new immersive audio experience from the Traverse spatial audio platform, featuring music by Johann Sebastian Bach performed by the legendary Yo-Yo Ma, with original visual design by artist Sougwen Chung.

* Important information: The Gallery is open from 9am to 5pm from Saturday to Thursday, and closed on Fridays and national holidays. In order to offer the best experience to the visitors, we limit the visit to 8 participants per hour. Allow 20 minutes to visit the exhibition. For more information, please contact us at istlouis@vcu.edu.

Into the Light is a custom experience tailored to the interior spaces of the Gallery location which invites you to move through the movements of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 2 in D Minor, performed by the legendary Yo-Yo Ma, from his 2018 recording of the suites, Six Evolutions. As visual anchors throughout the experience artist Sougwen Chung created original 3-dimensional drawings and sculptures to blend virtual and physical spaces. 

Into the Light comes in the midst of Yo-Yo Ma’s Bach Project, in which the cellist will perform the six suites in 36 locations around the world. The project is motivated not only by his six-decade relationship with the music, but also by Bach’s ability to speak to our shared humanity at a time when our civic conversation is so often focused on division. 

Into the Light is directed by Jessica Brillhart of immersive studio, Vrai Pictures, and Igal Nassima of the creative technology studio, Superbright. Creative audio design and mix was done by Q Department by leveraging their Mach 1 technology. The piece is built using the spatial audio platform, Traverse. Traverse makes listening physical, delivering immersive audio experiences that transport you so that you feel like you're there, all from the comfort of wherever you are. Utilizing mobile and listening devices enhanced with augmented reality technology, Traverse allows listeners to connect with this iconic piece of music like never before. The sensors in Augmented Reality (AR) audio wearables incorporate your physical movements through the sound-space. The Traverse app, along with its first run of experiences, are available for iOS on the App Store.

A panel discussion moderated by Dr. Bahaaeldin Abudaya, Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Fire Station Artists in Residence with Jessica Brillhart (Director of the Mixed Reality Lab at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies, and the founder of the independent XR studio, Vrai Pictures), and Myriam Achard (Chief, New Media Partnerships and PR at Centre Phi) will take place at the VCUarts Atrium at 6pm before the opening reception at the Gallery at 7pm.

Project Creators: Jessica Brillhart, Igal Nassima

Key Collaborators: Yo-Yo Ma, Sougwen Chung

Producers: Erica Newman, Max Lauter

Production company: Vrai Pictures

Creative Development: Superbright

Associate Producer: Corinne Brenner

Exhibition design produced by Phi 

Regular opening hours: Saturday to Thursday - From 9am to 5pm / Friday and National holidays - Closed


More information about the artists and creators:

Jessica Brillhart is the Director of the Mixed Reality Lab at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies, and the founder of the independent XR studio, Vrai Pictures. Known for her pioneering work in the immersive space, Brillhart has made a wide range of award-winning experiences and platforms, collaborating with partners such as Bose, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Elvis Presley Enterprises, the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, Frank Gehry, the Montreal Canadiens, Yo-Yo Ma, Google’s Artists and Machine Intelligence team, and (unofficially) the Weather Channel. Her work continues to explore the experiential potential of emergent technologies with the goal of creating emotional, inclusive, and impactful experiences.

Myriam Achard is the Chief, New Media Partnerships and PR at Centre Phi. She has been working alongside Phoebe Greenberg on the promotion and development of the Canadian and international avant-garde art scene. As head of new media at the Phi Center, Myriam travels the world in search of the most innovative immersive works in order to present them in Montreal, as well as deploying Phi’s expertise in the presentation of works at the cutting-edge of photography and technology abroad.

Sougwen 愫君 Chung is an internationally renowned multi-disciplinary artist, who uses hand-drawn and technologically-reproduced marks to address the closeness between person-to-person and person-to-machine communication. She is a former researcher at MIT Media Lab and current Artist in Resident at Bell Labs and New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. Her speculative critical practice spans installation, sculpture, still image, drawing, and performance which have been featured in numerous exhibitions at museums and galleries around the world.

Yo-Yo Ma plays three instruments, a 2003 Moes & Moes cello, made in the United States, a 1733 Montagnana cello from Venice, and the 1712 Davidoff Stradivarius. He has received numerous awards, including the Avery Fisher Prize (1978), the Glenn Gould Prize (1999), the National Medal of the Arts (2001), the Dan David Prize (2006), the Leonie Sonning Music Prize (2006), the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award (2008), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2010), Kennedy Center Honors (2011), the Polar Music Prize (2012), the Vilcek Prize in Contemporary Music (2013), and the J. Paul Getty Medal Award (2016). He has performed for eight American presidents, most recently at the invitation of President Obama on the occasion of the 56th Inaugural Ceremony. 

In addition to his work as a performing artist, Yo-Yo partners with communities and institutions from Chicago to Guangzhou to develop programs that champion culture’s power to transform lives and forge a more connected world. Among his many roles, he is the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Judson and Joyce Green Creative Consultant, artistic director of the annual Youth Music Culture Guangdong festival, and UN Messenger of Peace. He is the first artist ever appointed to the World Economic Forum’s board of trustees.

The Gallery would like to thank Coline Delbaere, Joel Guérin-Simard and Julie Tremblay. 

Traverse would like to thank Yo-Yo Ma, Jonathan Bays and Ben Mandelkern.

Credit image: Courtesy of Vrai Pictures

Exhibition Dates

15 Jan – 22 Feb 2020

Opening Reception

Wed / 15 Jan / 6:00pm


Free - Open invitation


The Gallery at VCUarts Qatar