Troy, NY — On Friday, February 16, French artist Laure Prouvost will present the New York premiere of They Are Waiting for You at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Developed at EMPAC over the past year, They Are Waiting for You is Prouvost’s first major work commissioned for the stage, drawing on themes that the Turner Prize-winning visual artist has become known for in her films and gallery installations.
A collaboration with artist Sam Belinfante and choreographer Pierre Droulers, They Are Waiting for You is a surreal, humorous, and perceptually disorienting theatrical production in which stage technologies—light, haze, projections—interact with performers, musicians, and the audience. Confounding linear narrative and a fixed relationship to words, the performance uses a wide range of everyday items—among them logs, some oranges, a large fish, and a helium balloon—to investigate language itself, its origins, and its distance from the world. Words, bodies, and images gain and lose meaning throughout the performance as language breaks down, and, in the piece’s stunning conclusion, that loss of language reveals a new space for ineffable beauty.
Born in France and currently based in London, Prouvost is known for her lush, immersive films and mixed-media installations in which fiction and reality become tangled. In 2013, she won the Turner Prize, the UK’s most prestigious award for visual art. At once seductive and jarring, her films are composed of an almost tactile assortment of pictures, sounds, and spoken and written phrases, which appear and disappear in quick, flashing cuts. These are often shown nestled into installations filled with a dizzying assortment of found objects, sculptures, paintings, drawings, furniture, signs, and architectural assemblages. They Are Waiting for You extends this project for the first time to the live context of the proscenium stage.
Co-commissioned by EMPAC and the Walker Art Center, They Are Waiting For You was conceived in collaboration with London-based artist, filmmaker, and curator Sam Belinfante, as well as renowned French/Belgian choreographer Pierre Droulers. They Are Waiting for You is performed in collaboration with percussionist Eli Keszler and the Artemis Ensemble (Tara Loeper, Lizz Windnagel, Alia Jeraj, Bethany Battafarano).
For more information, please visit empac.rpi.edu.
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.