EMPAC Re-Opens to Public with Ambitious Fall Season of World Premieres, Award-Winning Original Films, and Artists’ Talks

Clarissa Tossin, Before the Volcanoes Sing, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and EMPAC/Rensselaer.

August 24, 2022

EMPAC Re-Opens to Public with Ambitious Fall Season of World Premieres, Award-Winning Original Films, and Artists’ Talks

Center Expands Directorial and Curatorial Team With Four New Appointments and Hires

This fall, EMPAC welcomes audiences back for the first time since March 2020 for a packed season of commissioned works and performances spanning mediums, methods, and subjects, as well as a series of rigorous conversations on a range of politically and culturally pressing issues. The pandemic forced EMPAC (the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center), a major platform operating at the intersection of arts and technology on the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, to close their doors to the public for the first time since the center’s opening in 2008. They pivoted to a virtual programming format and continued to work directly with a diverse roster of international artists and technological innovators to commission new projects, which will be shown this upcoming season.

The season, which runs from late August to early December, begins with a project that was developed in residence at EMPAC during the spring. On Friday, August 26 at 8PM, EMPAC presents PROPHET: The Order of Lyricism by 7NMS, the collaborative duo of composer Everett Saunders and choreographer Marjani Forté-Saunders who have had seven award-winning theatrical performances in the past ten years. PROPHET is a multi-genre performance that follows the story of Mental, a black hip-hop emcee who embarks on an artistic quest for self-realization. Other highlights include the world premiere of LA-based Brazilian artist Clarissa Tossin’s "Before the Volcanoes Sing" an expanded cinema performance  that animates the concert hall’s architectural surfaces and Ambisonic speakers to dramatize the capacity of Maya wind instruments to give voice to Indigenous systems of knowledge and Anna Craycroft's “Only Breath, Words” performed without any actors, using the theater’s air handling system itself as breath to activate a chorus of human sounds delivered by pipe sculptures. In addition to dance, music, and theatrical productions, the program will also include the screening of award-winning feature films produced by EMPAC, some works-in-progress, a weekend symposium on the documentary form, curator-guided tours of the center, and a series of conversations between artists, scholars, and historians focused on the nexus of arts and technology, radical ecology, the Indigenous-led “Land Back” movement, and surveillance of the U.S. border. A detailed list and description of the Fall program is provided in the attached brochure.

EMPAC is also adding to its directorial and curatorial team to expand the center’s mission of becoming one of the foremost hubs for artists interested in the intersection of arts, science, and engineering by offering in-depth research opportunities, production residencies, workshops, resources, programming, and use of the center’s cutting edge, high-tech infrastructure to create highly original works that bring about new audience experiences. EMPAC names two new positions, Jonas Braasch to the position of Associate Director of Research and Vic Brooks to the position of Associate Director of Arts. On the curator front, EMPAC hires Amadeus Regucera as Curator of Music and promotes Ashley Ferro-Murrray to Senior Curator of Dance and Theater. Their bios are available on the website.


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