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Into the Light

From January 15 to February 22, 2020

Exhibit Opening

January 15, 2020 at 6pm

Project Creator(s)

Igal Nassima and Jessica Brillhart

Key Collaborator(s)

Sougwen Chung and Yo-Yo Ma


Erica Newman and Max Lauter

Production Company

Vrai Pictures

Creative Development


Associate Producer

Corinne Brenner

Exhibition Design

Corinne Brenner


The Gallery at VCUarts Qatar


Myriam Achard, Coline Delbaere, Joel Guérin-Simard and Julie Tremblay, Phi Center

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

Image caption: Into the Light ©VraiPictures

Into the Light exhibition 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 experienced 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 the immersive studio, Vrai Pictures, and Igal Nassima of the creative technology studio, Superbright. Creative audio design and the mix were 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, is available for iOS on the App Store.

Original visual design by artist Sougwen Chung, 2019, ©Traverse, Sougwen Chung

The 3-dimensional drawings compose scenes inspired by manifold interpretations of light; as natural phenomena, bodily meridians and cosmic microwave background, a remnant of the earliest light of the universe.

Original visual design by artist Sougwen Chung, 2019, ©Traverse, Sougwen Chung
Original visual design by artist Sougwen Chung, 2019, ©Traverse, Sougwen Chung




Sougwen Chung is an internationally renowned multidisciplinary 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.

In 2019, she was selected as the Woman of the Year in Monaco for achievement in the Arts & Sciences. In 2016, Chung received Japan Media Art’s Excellence Award for her project, Drawing Operations. She has been awarded Artist in Residence positions at Google, Eyebeam, Japan Media Arts, and Pier 9 Autodesk. In 2014, she was selected as one of the Top 20 New Visual Artists by Print Magazine.

Her work has been exhibited internationally, including at Art Basel, Miami; National Art Center, Tokyo; NTT InterCommunication Center [ICC], Tokyo, Japan; ArtScience Museum, Singapore; MIT Media Lab, Cambridge; The Drawing Center, New York; The New Museum (Sky Room), New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Geneva; Mana Contemporary, New York, Tribeca Film Festival, New York; The Hospital Club, London; Mutek Festival, Montreal & Mexico City; Sonar Festival, Barcelona.

Her work has also been featured in The New Yorker, Wired, Art F City, Dazed and Confused, The Creators Project, MASHABLE, Engadget, Business Insider, Fast Company and USA Today.

She has spoken internationally at conferences including Global Art Forum, Singapore; World Science Festival, New York; Cannes Lions, Cannes; WSJ’s Future of Everything Conference, New York; Tribeca Film Festival Interactive, New York; OFFF, Barcelona; FITC, Tokyo; Internet Dargana, Stockholm; SXSW, Austin; The Art Directors Club, New York.

Yo Yo Ma, NEBU


Yo-Yo Ma’s multi-faceted career is a testament to his enduring belief in culture’s power to generate trust and understanding. Whether performing new or familiar works from the cello repertoire, collaborating with communities and institutions to explore culture’s role in society, or engaging unexpected musical forms, he strives to foster connections that stimulate the imagination and reinforce our humanity.

Yo-Yo Ma maintains a balance between engagements as a soloist with orchestras, recitals and chamber music activities, and collaborations with a wide circle of artists and institutions. With partners from around the world and across disciplines, Yo-Yo creates programs that stretch the boundaries of genre and tradition to explore music-making as a means not only to share and express meaning but also as a model for the cultural collaboration he considers essential to a strong society.

In August 2018, Yo-Yo Ma began a new journey, setting out to perform Johann Sebastian Bach’s six suites for solo cello in one sitting in 36 locations around the world, iconic venues that encompass our cultural heritage, our current creativity, and the challenges of peace and understanding that will shape our future. Each concert will be an example of culture’s power to create moments of shared understanding, as well as an invitation to a larger conversation about culture, society, and the themes that connect us all.

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 plays three instruments, a 2003 Moes & Moes cello, made in the United States, a 1733 Montagnana cello from Venice, and the 1712 Davidoff Stradivarius.


Igal Nassima is an artist and programmer from Istanbul, Turkey. He is the founder of Superbright, an award-winning creative technology studio specializing in AR, VR, and Physical Computing experiences that are as thought-provoking as they are practical.

Igal’s works have premiered around the world including the Venice Biennale, MoMA, Tribeca Festival, Sundance, and SXSW (winning the first-ever Jury Selection for Future of experiences). He is an adjunct professor at New York University, where he teaches Immersive Social Technology. Previously, he founded 319 Scholes, an experimental technology space, which established a new voice for Net Artists and Curators in New York City.

Jessica Brillhart in Doha


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.

Brillhart earned degrees in Film and Television Production at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and Computer Applications at the Courant Institute of Mathematics. In 2009, she joined Google’s Creative Lab, and in 2015 became Google’s Principal Filmmaker of Virtual Reality, helping to develop their live-action virtual reality ecosystem, Google Jump. Brillhart’s Medium publication on immersive craft and language, In the Blink of a Mind, has been used by universities, master classes, and creators all over the world. She has taken the stage at Google IO, Oculus Connect, FMX, Sonar+D, Fast Company’s Innovation Festival, and the Aspen Ideas Festival. Brillhart has worked as an advisor for Sundance New Frontiers, the Independent Film Project (IFP), and Electric South; and has been a judge for such organizations as World Press Photo, ADC Young Guns, and the Tribeca Film Festival.

In 2017, Brillhart was recognized as one of the Top 35 young innovators by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2019, she delivered the Convergence Keynote at SXSW and received the festival’s Future of Experience award for her spatial audio platform, Traverse. Most recently, Brillhart was the recipient of the Advanced Imaging Society’s Distinguished Leadership Award which celebrates innovation and technical achievement in the industries of film, technology, and entertainment.



Superbright is an award-winning creative technology studio specializing in AR, VR, and Physical Computing experiences that are as thought-provoking as they are practical. Comprised of artists and developers, Superbright works on product development, creates commissioned work, and maintains ongoing residencies to form a holistic perspective on these nascent tools and their future applications.


Vrai Pictures is an immersive content studio based in New York. They build impactful and emotional experiences for emerging technologies. They pride themselves in learning, experimenting, and exploring – helping to develop new tools and discovering new processes through the work we do. Founded by VR veteran Jessica Brillhart, Vrai Pictures’ work exists at the intersection of art and technology to create thought-provoking work that inspires, challenges, and pushes immersive content in new, innovative and bold directions.


Dedicated to art in all its forms, Phi is a multidisciplinary arts and culture organization that cultivates all aspects of creation, development, production and dissemination. Phi is at the intersection of art, film, music, design and technology. Through eclectic programming and a strong emphasis on content creation, Phi fosters unexpected encounters between artists and audiences. Headquartered at the Phi Centre in Montreal, Canada, Phi was created by Director and Founder Phoebe Greenberg.

With generous support from
Bose Air and NOKIA Bell Labs

Public Programming

Jan. 15-16, 2020

Book your Brain Date with Igal Nassima, Jessica Brillhart or Myriam Achard!

Jan. 15, 2020 ― 3 to 3:45 PM

Behind the scene tour of the exhibition for the Graphic Design students (VR) with Igal Nassima

Jan. 15, 2020 ― 6 to 7 PM

Panel discussion moderated by Dr. Bahaa Abudaya with Jessica Brillhart and Myriam Achard

Jan. 15, 2020 ― 7 to 8 PM

Opening reception with Jessica Brillhart, Myriam Achard and Igal Nassima

Jan. 16, 2020 ― 10:30 to 11:15 AM

Class Talk by Jessica Brillhart and Myriam Achard with the MFA students

Jan. 16, 2020 ― 12:30 to 1:30 PM

Qatar Foundation Art Trail: Guided Tour with Jessica Brillhart, Myriam Achard and Igal Nassima

Feb. 05, 2020 ― 3 to 5 PM

Yoga Session at The Gallery with Yama Yoga Studio (RSVP - Seats limited)

Feb. 29, 2020 ― 12 to 2 PM

Yoga Session at The Gallery with Yama Yoga Studio (RSVP - Seats limited for VCUarts Qatar community only)


"Into the Light" Opening Reception

Photo Gallery

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