Reality's Fugue - Virtual Reality Meets Art & Philosophy

January 20 - February 10, 2024 

What people are saying about this unique exhibition:

  • I very much enjoyed Reality's Fugue and am grateful to New Hope Arts for hosting such an innovative show.  The concept of our singular and collective selves was presented beautifully. Virtual/augmented reality has such tremendous potential in the art world - I can't wait to see your next VR installation!
  • I just enjoyed the Reality's Fugue virtual experience. Great representation of the concepts! And kudos to the artists-fabulous! I was amazed how I could interact with and control the images. A totally new experience for me. Actually I played around with what would happen when I move my hands. I know that’s not the focus of the work but I had fun! And it is an interesting challenge to the idea of what's real. Thank you for hosting this piece. -Linda Flower
  • Park and I wanted to write an email about your latest show, Reality’s Fugue. We witnessed and experienced it yesterday, Sunday. We were both completely moved by the total experience. It was our first time with Virtual Reality and we were both wondering what it would be like and whether we would enjoy such a radical departure from the world of art as it has been presented at the New Hope Arts gallery. Well, we can say with no hesitation that we were not only pleased, but quite moved by the whole thing.
    It was our first time donning the headsets and immersing ourselves in VR and it was an eye opener, on many levels. We both found ourselves readily opening up to the structure, the visualization of all three dimensions at once, along with the use of ambient music and sound, all of which increased our immersion. It also helped that both of us are versed in Buddhistic ideas and practices so there was no learning curve but even if there was, one did not have to be an expert to both appreciate and go along with the entire thing as it was designed to both teach and lead one into actually experiencing a change in perspective.  And it did both superbly. What a ride! Beautiful, flowing, fun, and yes, artistic in the choice of sound, of color, shape, form and design. We adored all of it and were mildly disappointed when it ended because it was so moving and powerful….. we wished for a little bit more. 
    We wanted to thank you for taking a chance on this exhibition and allowing us in Bucks to live for a little while on one of the cutting edges of artistic exploration, at the intersections of technology, artistry, and philosophy. But this is the kind of thing we have grown to expect, and to cherish, about New Hope Arts, and we are grateful you exist, turning out magnificent and often thought -provoking exhibitions time after time after time. Thank you! -Sharon and Park Furlong
  • I recently had the great pleasure of attending Mr. Samuel Brainard's "Reality's Fugue." 
    David Brooke, in 'The New York Times', cites Ralph Waldo Emerson: "We start with the tiny circle of our own experience, but gradually we acquire more expansive ways of seeing the world." Reality's Fugue is a large step towards just that!
    My hope is that the 10-minute project will be shown in a wide range of venues - e.g., prisons, to calm people, in schools, senior citizens groups, etc.
    To paraphrase the Victorian art critic John Ruskin, "Perception is not a simple and straightforward act." 
    In short, REALITY'S FUGUE greatly expands and enhances our ability to perceive, appreciate, and function in a complex and ever changing world.Thank you, to Mr. Brainard, and all of the other artists involved in the project. I personally was so moved by the video, that I wanted only to sit quietly for a while, and just "be." -Judith McNally
  • What a wonderful show!  so educational and informative and right on the cutting edge of new possibilities with art.  Thanks to Carol Cruickshanks, the author Sandy Brainard and the creative team for putting this all together.  The future of art may involve more dynamic participation with the viewer and New Hope Arts leads the way in this very exciting new virtual media.
  • Congratulations on selecting a virtual reality exhibit, Reality's Fugue, for New Hope Arts! I believe it is the first of its kind in the region. What courage to consent not only to its uniqueness and challenges but also to your participation as one of us four artists as well! As another of the artists, I also valued being part of the experience. With this type of technological requirements, risk-taking tends to be high, but the outcome can be intriguing if not spectacular. - Aurelle Sprout

New Hope Arts presents an inaugural look into virtual reality and augmented reality - transforming the VR and AR experience out of the realm of gaming into a creative tool for social awareness.

In collaboration with Northeastern University Professor David Tames, author F. Samuel Brainard, area artists and Bucks County Community College technical interns, Reality's Fugue is a participatory experience of the creation story, combining art and philosophy to illustrate our shared world.

The gallery installation showcases the history of this technology along with the process of the show's production as well as an opportunity to put on a headset and step into Reality's Fugue.

Reality's Fugue: Genesis

Reality's Fugue: Genesis is a collaboration between F. Samuel Brainard and David Tamés. The work will be exhibited at the New Hope Arts Center in New Hope, Pennsylvania, from January 20 through February 10, 2024. Opening reception on Saturday, January 20, 2024, from 4:00 to 7:00 P.M. with an artist’s talk at 5:00 P.M. 


Brainard, in his book Reality’s Fugue: Reconciling Worldviews in Science, Religions, and Philosophy, asserts that a puzzle lies at the center of everything we’re aware of. It hides the true nature of ourselves and the fundamental nature of the universe we live in.

This approach challenges the exclusionist notion that only one worldview can be correct. It presents an alternative mode of understanding using Douglas Hofstadter’s metaphor of a musical fugue. Different “voices” and “melodies” of worldviews coexist in counterpoint and conversation. At the same time, each perspective remains distinct; none is privileged. 

Reality’s Fugue: Genesis immerses participants in a virtual world that provides a new take on the Genesis origin story to illustrate how we create a shared world, and we hope it catalyzes conversation.


Produced and Directed by F. Samuel Brainard and David Tamés

Contributing Artists: Aurelle Sprout, Carol Cruickshanks, Stacie Speer Scott, Susanne Davis

Developer: Patrick Nugent

3D Artists: Katerina Pak and Patrick Nugent

Composer:  Linda Erickson

Narration: Jenny Paschall

Technical Consultants: Danger Donaghey, Oscar Keyes, Matt Seibert

Special Thanks: New Hope Arts Center, Stanley Timek, Bucks County Community College, Jeffrey Jacobson, Carol Parker, Susan Bindig, Elizabeth A. Stier, Ryan Murray,  Celia Pearce, Jonny Ouk, Immersive Media Lab (College of Arts, Media and Design, Northeastern University)


It is commonplace to believe that who we are—our true nature—is anchored in our individuality and our uniqueness. Reality’s Fugue, the book, and the virtual reality experience argue that our true nature is not so easily explained. A puzzle lies at the heart of everything we know; we are not just individuals, we are both individuals and collective beings, both one and many at the same time.

REALITY’S FUGUE - GENESIS is a story about this puzzle.


“A puzzle within a puzzle;
The gateway to the ultimate mysteries.”

— Tao te Ching, chapter 1