EMPAC’s 2015 Season of Concerts, Films & Other Performances

January 26th, 2015, 3:00 pm by Greg

Open your eyes… and ears.

EMPAC – that futuristic ark of the avant garde that clings to the hillside of RPI’s Troy campus – is gearing up for another season of music, movies, dance, talks, and all other manner of indescribable cross-discipline performances.

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The events explore dance created for film, the connection between art and astronomy, antique experimental animation, German electronic music and so much more.

Many of the events are free, and all of the others are relatively inexpensive. So take a chance. You might be delightfully, thought-provokingly surprised…

Here’s the 2015 winter/spring schedule for EMPAC at RPI:

TALK: Judy Radul’s “The Contour of Attention”
Tuesday (January 27), 7pm, FREE
The artist presents her in-progress research, asking, “What is the meaning of camera motion, and what are the potentials of new technologies to help us reflect and intervene in these meanings? This inquiry into camera motion as the subtle carrier of the image is in the context of a daily life saturated with cameras and screens, each of us conscripted by our devices to document and disseminate but rarely to deliberate on their effects.”

FILM: Dance Movies
Saturday (January 31), 7pm, FREE
A presentation of five dance films, commissioned or developed at EMPAC, including Seline Baumgartner’s “Nothing Else,” Orit Ben-Shitrit’s “Ward of the Feral Horses,” chameckilerner’s “ESKAZISER & Samba#2,” Dana Gingras’ “Chainreaction” and Marianne Kim’s “Lost & Found.”

FILM: Hans Richter + Viking Eggeling’s “Dreams that Money Can Buy”
Wednesday, February 11, 7pm, $6
Two pioneering animated films from the 1920s – Viking Eggeling’s “Symphonie diagonale” (1924) and Hans Richter’s “Filmstudie” (1926) – are accompanied by Richter’s surrealist feature film, “Dreams that Money Can Buy” (1947), scored by experimental music pioneer John Cage, with Paul Bowles, Darius Milhaud and Louis Applebaum.

PERFORMANCE: Cally Spooner’s “And You Were Wonderful, On Stage”
Friday, February 13, 8pm, FREE; reservations required
A performance with multiple actors, dancers, and stage sets that attempts to integrate the process of filming into the production itself, the event will be live-streamed and take on the format of a TV variety show. Directed by the artist and technical team to provide laughter and applause, the audience will be integral to the film’s production as both audience and actor.

MUSIC: Mark Fell & Keith Fullerton Whitman
Saturday, February 21, 2015, $18, $13 students & seniors
The US premiere of a new duo project from two of the most restless innovators in electronic music. Mark Fell and Keith Fullerton Whitman are each known for their fluid approaches to electronic music making. Born of the techno generation, both have infused, deconstructed, and transcended their early mastery of vernacular dance styles with a more academic ear toward the legacy and promise of computer music.

FILM: Lucy Raven’s “Tales of Love and Fear”
Friday, February 27, 8pm, $18, students & seniors $13
Having focused her research on the history and evolution of 3D-film technologies and animation techniques, Lucy Raven’s “Tales of Love and Fear” is a site-specific artwork for the Concert Hall, investigating the fluid cultural perception of spatial depth though an art-historical lens.

FILM: “On Animation and Workflow”
Saturday, February 28, 8pm, $6
Looking back upon a century’s worth of image production, this screening program presents moving images from Georges Méliès’ pre-digital compositing techniques at the turn of the 20th century to contemporary CGI, and artists’ experiments with gaming software, to investigate the technical and aesthetic conditions that are manifest through the processes of constructing moving images.

TALK: Heidi Newberg & Rosa Barba’s “On the Speculative Intersection of Astronomy and Art”
Tuesday, March 3, 12noon, FREE
A conversation about the speculative intersection between astronomy, art and time featuring artist-in-residence Rosa Barba and Heidi Newberg, professor of Physics, Applied Physics and Astronomy at Rensselaer.

FILM: Rosa Barba’s “The Color Out of Space”
Saturday, March 7, 8pm, FREE
Rosa Barba’s two-part EMPAC commission was produced in collaboration with Rensselaer’s Hirsch Observatory, and will be presented on four consecutive Saturday evenings throughout March. While transforming EMPAC’s 8th Street façade into an outdoor cinema that uses the solar system as source material for a speculative film, a site-specific artwork for the Hirsch Observatory will connect the two buildings across campus.
ALSO at 8pm on March 14, 21 & 28.

MUSIC: Mouse on Mars
Saturday, March 7, 10pm, $18, $13 students & seniors
A rare US performance by Mouse on Mars, one of the most influential and innovative duos in German electronic music. For the past 21 years, Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma have been making electronic music that defies genre labels and classification, mixing IDM with krautrock, disco, pop, ambient, and avant-garde styles.

TALK: Giuliana Bruno’s “Surface: Matters of Aesthetics, Materiality and Media”
Monday, March 9, 7pm, FREE
In this talk, theorist Giuliana Bruno will speak about how the physical appearance of surfaces holds deep meaning for us as part of cultural contexts established by architecture, cinema and philosophy.

PERFORMANCE: DD Dorvillier’s “Extra Shapes”
Friday, March 20, 8pm, $18; $13 students & seniors
Created by DD Dorvillier, in collaboration with composer Sébastien Roux and lighting designer Thomas Dunn, “Extra Shapes” is a performance for lunging figures, a musical concert for loudspeakers, and a light show – all occupying a rectangular space divided into three horizontal bands, featuring sound in the front, light in the middle, and dance in the back.

FILM: Harun Farocki’s “Parallel I-IV”
Tuesday, March 31, 7pm, $6
This four-part cycle of essay-films made by the late filmmaker Harun Farocki between 2012–2014 delves into the techniques and technologies involved in the making of contemporary moving images. Charting the development of computer animation through video games, industrial cinema and military imaging, Farocki discards the cinematic notion of the “real” to uncover the unseen labor invisibly rendered into these on-screen digital worlds.

TALK: Curt Breneman’s “Changing the World by Mining the Materials Genome”
Tuesday, April 7, 12noon, FREE
The dean of science at RPI will discuss the work of the Materials Genome Initiative, a project that brings together materials science and data science to facilitate the development of advanced materials.

TALK: Jeffrey Kipnis’ “Science? What Science?”
Wednesday, April 8, 7pm, FREE
The architectural theorist and Ohio State University professor will discuss the production of knowledge in the realms of science and the arts, asserting that artists, composers, magicians, healers, writers, politicians, generals and everyday artisans have accumulated and mobilized far more actual scientific facts through culture than modern science has discovered or come close to explaining.

MUSIC: Pianoply
Saturday, April 11, 7:30pm, $18, $13 students & seniors
Four accomplished pianists, four acoustically distinct venues, five grand pianos. This evening of piano performances brings together some of the leading soloists working today in new music – Vicky Chow, Stephen Drury, Mabel Kwan and Marilyn Nonken – to explore their instrument’s full color spectrum in EMPAC’s complete range of acoustic environments.

TALK: Eric Ameres’ “EMPAC from the Inside: Behind the Scenes of Production and Research”
Wednesday, April 22, 7pm, FREE
EMPAC’s Senior research engineer pulls back the curtain on technological work performed in collaboration with artists, scientists, and the EMPAC production teams. Through a series of vignettes, anecdotes, interviews and some “show and tell,” he’ll explore the ever-expanding repertoire of technology and offer insight into where experimental media and the performing arts can meet in production and research, providing a rare glimpse behind the scenes from what the audience typically gets to experience.

TALK: Charles Atlas’ Screening and Artist Talk
Thursday, April 23, 7pm, FREE
An evening of films and discussion with the New York pioneer of media-dance (performance is created directly for the camera), who was videographer-in-residence with Merce Cunningham Dance Company for a decade, and continues to collaborate extensively with choreographers, dancers, and performers, including Michael Clark, Yvonne Rainer, Diamanda Galas, and Mika Tajima/New Humans, among many others.

MUSIC: Architeuthis Walks on Land
Saturday, April 25, 8pm, $18, $13 students & seniors
The viola and bassoon are not typically brandished in the pursuit of free improvisation and noise, but the duo of Amy Cimini and Katierine Young brings fierceness and energy to these typically orchestral instruments with extended techniques, bass amplification and rich textures. Sharing the bill will be Miranda Cuckson, who presents a set of complex and microtonal works for solo violin by Xenakis, Ferneyhough and Haas.

PERFORMANCE: Ellie Ga’s “The Fortunetellers”
Thursday, May 7, 8pm, $18, $13 students & seniors
A narrative performance – mixing live storytelling, recorded sound, still images and film – inspired by American artist Ellie Ga’s six-month residency on the Tara, a research boat frozen in the Arctic ice, drifting near the North Pole to gather scientific data.

PERFORMANCE: Ellie Ga’s “Eureka, a lighthouse play”
Friday, May 8, 8pm, $18, $13 students & seniors
A narrative performance that centers on the Great Lighthouse of Alexandria. Since its destruction in a series of earthquakes during the Middle Ages, many people have tried to reconstruct the lighthouse, searching for its remains in an effort to reconstruct the histories of one of the lost wonders of the ancient world.