The season kicks off on January 16 with Afrogalactica, a film-performance by Canadian artist Kapwani Kiwanga. Drawing on the Afrofuturist tradition, Kiwanga assumes the role of speculative anthropologist, mixing poetry, mythology, science, and pop culture into an alternate history of the African diaspora.
On January 23, Hudson Valley filmmaker Ephraim Asili will offer a first look at his feature film, Inheritance, which he is developing in residence at EMPAC. Inheritance is based on the true story of a West Philadelphia collective of Black political activists.
University of Toronto researcher Patrick Keilty will give a February 7 talk, titled Pornography’s Graphical Interface, considering the way that the multi-billion-dollar pornography industry manipulates contemporary experiences of desire and sexuality through strategic design and info-management decisions.
Turner Prize-winning visual artist Laure Prouvost will present the world premiere of her first major stage production, They Are Waiting for You, on February 16. A surreal and humorous medley of images, objects, words, and stage effects, the multimedia performance was developed in residence at EMPAC with collaborators Sam Belinfante and Pierre Droulers.
Choreographer Elena Demyanenko and filmmaker Erika Mijlin will premiere their multimedia dance collaboration echo/archive on March 2. Integrating live dance with live and pre-recorded video, the performance explores the layers of memory and heritage that exist in each human body.
The yearlong film series Other Uses will continue on March 7 with a screening of films by Ulysses Jenkins. Presenting documentaries and performance films from the 70s to the present, Jenkins’ films examine television’s power to shape current events, historical episodes, and the portrayal of Black men in America.
Swedish composer Ellen Arkbro will perform on electric guitar and electronics on March 8. This performance comes at the outset of a production residency during which she will be working on EMPAC’s Wave Field Synthesis spatial audio system.
This Was the End is director/dramaturg Mallory Catlett’s adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s canonical play Uncle Vanya. Catlett will be transforming her performance into a multimedia installation while in residence at EMPAC. On March 19, the installation will open with an “activation” by musician G. Lucas Crane and will be on-view throughout the day on March 20.
Composer and Bang on a Can co-founder Michael Gordon will present his new choral work Anonymous Man on March 22. A memoir of his former Manhattan neighborhood and the homeless men who lived there, the piece will be performed by Philadelphia-based 24-voice choir The Crossing.
On April 5, choreographer Ni’Ja Whitson presents their live-dance adaptation of filmmaker and activist Marlon T. Riggs’ 1982 film Tongues Untied, a groundbreaking portrait of Black gay identity. Staged throughout the EMPAC building, A Meditation on Tongues will feature dancers Slim Ninja, Kirsten Flores-Davis, and a post-show panel discussion with the Rensselaer LGBTQ Task Force.
EMPAC director Johannes Goebel will lead an open discussion on April 11, tackling the topic of art and its place in life, society, and education.
The Other Uses film series concludes on April 26 with a screening of films by Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Jorge Jácome, and Naeem Mohaiemen.
To close the season on April 27, composer and Bang on a Can co-founder David Lang will present his orchestral work darker, performed by Ensemble Signal with live projections by visual artist Suzanne Bocanegra.
Throughout the spring, EMPAC will continue to offer free Building Tours led by different members of the EMPAC team. This season’s roster will includeLead Video Engineer Eric Brucker, Senior Research Engineer Eric Ameres, Senior Network Administrator Dave Bebb, and EMPAC Curators Ashley Ferro-Murray, Argeo Ascani, and Victoria Brooks. Tours run the first Saturday of every month at 2PM.
The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is where the arts, sciences, and technology interact with and influence each other by using the same facilities and technologies, and by breathing the same air. EMPAC hosts artists and researchers to produce and present new work in a building designed with sophisticated architectural and technical infrastructure. Four exceptional venues and studios enable audiences, artists, and researchers to inquire, experiment, develop, and experience the ever-changing relationship between ourselves, technology, and the worlds we create around us. EMPAC is an icon of the New Polytechnic, a new paradigm for cross-disciplinary research and learning at Rensselaer, the nation’s oldest technological research university.