Posts Tagged ‘EMPAC’

THEATER: Wu Tsang moves beyond the transgender experience to experimental art @ EMPAC [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, April 14th, 2016
Patrick Belaga, Wu Tsang and Boychild.

Patrick Belaga, Wu Tsang and boychild

By Larry Murray

When most people think of transgender art (if they think about it at all) they conjure up tacky nightclubs, drag queens and a hidden, clandestine world. That’s not only wrong: it’s insulting.

Dig a little more deeply and you will find there is some exceptional artisty to be had, and given the chance, you and I can discover what a truly creative mind can bring to the stage. It is in that spirit that we choose this performance as a top pick, one you should not miss.

As it is, artist Wu Tsang will cap a week-long production residency at EMPAC at RPI in Troy with the stage performance Moved by the Motion, a collaboration with performer boychild and experimental cellist Patrick Belaga. Part of an ongoing, iterative series of such performances, the show at 8pm on Friday (April 15) will feature a new lighting design, crafted in the EMPAC Theater.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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Salvatore Sciarrino’s Sounds of Silence @ EMPAC [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

Existing at the edge of what can be heard, the music of Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino is identified by whispers of sound that punctuate a canvas of silence. It’s music that demands a pristine listening environment to be presented properly. On Thursday (April 14), the rare pairing will be achieved when a program of chamber works by Sciarrino is presented in the concert hall of EMPAC at RPI in Troy.

Often touching upon Italian medieval and Renaissance culture as an inspiration, Sciarrino distills the sounds he uses in his compositions down to their essence to create music that exists outside of the noise of daily modern life. For his new approach to old ideas, he has become one of the best known and respected European composers working today, with more than 100 recordings to his name. His fragile music requires exceptional focus from its performers, stretching their technique and control to extremes.

Rensselaer faculty Nicholas DeMaison has been working in residence at EMPAC this week rehearsing three of Sciarrino’s best-known works (composed between 1985 and 2009). Working with a nine-piece ensemble and featured vocalist Amanda DeBoer Bartlett, the program will consist of “Infinito Nero,” a piece that draws its inspiration from the vocal outbursts of 16th-century mystic St. Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi; “Lo Spazio Inverso,” a piece that creates islands of sound in a sea of silence; and the most recent, “L’Altro Giardino,” an elaboration of his earlier work “Il Giardino di Sara.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire in Stage.

FILM: On Screen/Sound 6 @ EMPAC at RPI, 11/4/15

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
Lis Rhodes’ “Light Music" @ EMPAC (photo:  Jeff Nania)

Lis Rhodes’ “Light Music” @ EMPAC (photo: Jeff Nania)

Review and photographs by Jeff Nania

The latest installment of EMPAC’s On Screen/Sound series continued its exploration into interesting and unique connections between film and sound last week with two pieces composed entirely for light. Lis Rhodes’ “Light Music,” and Henning Lohner and John Cage’s collaborative piece “One11 and 103” were both screened.

Notably, “Light Music” was the only piece of the entire On Screen/Sound series to be presented in Studio One with standing room only because it is meant to be experienced in an environmental space. Old school film projectors sat on the floor on either side of the room and sputtered at each other through a theatrical haze as they projected onto opposing screens. The visual images were black and white patterns printed onto the celluloid film and then read as both visual and audio information, so that what you see is also what you hear. It makes for a bath of early computer and videogame-esque sounds. Because of the haze that filled the room you could see this happening throughout the airspace as well.

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Electronic Composer Mark Fell Debuts as Choreographer at EMPAC at RPI [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, October 5th, 2015

bosrecursiveframe

British artist Mark Fell is best known as an electronic composer. Starting out in the UK house and techno scene of the 1990s, Fell has become one of the most esteemed innovators of electronic music’s more experimental flavors. It’s within this context that Fell has expanded his art practice to include light design, architectural installation, and other configurations of multimedia performance. With Recursive Frame Analysis, Fell will add the ingredient of human movement to the mix for his official debut as a choreographer. Developed over the course of a year in residence at EMPAC at RPI in Troy), the piece will premiere there at 8pm on Thursday and Friday (October 8 & 9).

The title and disciplinary progression of the piece takes its inspiration from a mode of talk therapy developed in the 1980s. RFA is a technique whereby the content of a conversation is reconsidered by analyzing the linguistic framework in which it unfolds. Inevitably, this process becomes recursive with the context of a prior exchange becoming the content for a new one. In Fell’s project, a similar process is undertaken with each medium (sound, light, and dance) nesting within the others.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Music for the Deaf & Hearing Impaired at EMPAC at RPI [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

It’s hard to imagine the act of listening without the use of the human ear. However, for Lebanese electronic composer Tarek Atoui, listening is an act that engages far more of our perceptual capabilities than simply hearing sound. In fact, Atoui has developed an art practice around composing and performing sound that can be appreciated by a hearing-impaired audience, drawing on an understanding of multimodal listening abilities including gesture, visuality, tactility and the space in which sound is performed. On Thursday (September 24) at 7pm, Atoui will present these ideas in a free performance at EMPAC at RPI in Troy.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

“The Extra People” Breaks Down Walls @ EMPAC at RPI [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015
Who is the actor and who is the audience?

Who is the actor and who is the audience?

The “fourth wall” is the imaginary barrier that separates the actors from the audience in a traditional theater production. When it’s broken, the audience is shocked into an awareness of the role they play in supporting the spectacle at hand. In British artist Ant Hampton’s new production, developed in residence at EMPAC at RPI in Troy, the fourth wall is so thin as to be nearly imperceptible, with the line between performer and audience equally unclear. On Thursday evening (September 10), the world premiere will find audience members entering the dimly lit theater, equipped with earphones, a flashlight and a high-viz jacket to search for who might be considered “The Extra People.”

Starting with “Rotozaza’s Etiquette” (2007), Hampton has created nine “autoteatro” works, including his recent Bessie-award-winning collaboration with Tim Etchells for library reading rooms (“The Quiet Volume”). In autoteatro, automated processes are delivered to the audience, normally through pre-recorded audio, which allow the audience members to experience the piece from the inside. In the case of “The Extra People,” audience members will be issued iPods with earbuds that will deliver particular instructions to each person. In this way, every person in the room will experience shifting roles on the participant-spectator spectrum.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

EMPAC Madness: Two Conflicting Music Styles Share One Program on Saturday [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
Architeuthis Walks on Land is Amy Cimini and Katherine Young.

Architeuthis Walks on Land is Amy Cimini and Katherine Young.

By Larry Murray

It’s a bit like beauty and the beast. One is a soloist known for her elegance, grace and precise interpretation of contemporary composition. The other is a fearsome duo, known for their raw improvisational encounters with the extreme ranges of their instruments.

Conventional wisdom tells us that the two should repel one another, forcing both performers and their respective audience back into the safe disciplinary niche from whence they came. But the magic of this fable is that opposites attract and what contrasts also complements. On Saturday (April 25) at 8pm, this premise will be put to the musical test in Studio 2 at EMPAC at RPI in Troy, where Architeuthis Walks on Land will share the stage with Miranda Cuckson.

The viola and bassoon are not typically brandished in the pursuit of free improvisation and noise, but the duo Architeuthis Walks on Land brings fierceness and energy to these typically “orchestral” instruments. By way of extended techniques, bass amplification and rich textures, Amy Cimini and Katherine Young create a space where composition, indeterminacy and immediacy intersect.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

DD Dorvillier’s “Extra Shapes” at EMPAC Combines Sound, Light & Dance – But Doesn’t Blend [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015
Dance at RPI’s EMPAC in Troy, New York.

Dance @ EMPAC at RPI in Troy

Picture a carton of Neapolitan ice cream: three bands of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate perfectly proportioned, separated, juxtaposed. Each flavor retains its unique character and might be tasted alone, but, when taken as a triad, the dessert reveals its simple elegance through complementation not combination. This is the working analogy for choreographer and performer DD Dorvillier’s Extra Shapes, which treats the mediums of sound, light and movement in a similarly autonomous manner. The EMPAC-commissioned work will premiere at EMPAC at RPI in Troy at 8pm on Friday (March 20).

For Extra Shapes, the stage itself is the ice cream carton. Within that space, works of sound, light and dance occupy the three horizontal bands. According to its parts, the piece is a concert for loudspeakers (by composer Sebastien Roux), a light show (by lighting designer Thomas Dunn) and a performance for moving figures (created by Dorvillier with the performers Katerina Andreou and Walter Dundervill).

Staged in the EMPAC Theater, Extra Shapes consists of a 17-minute sequence which is repeated several times. The audience, seated along the sides of the rectangle, moves to a new side after each iteration in order to experience very different perspectives. The idea is to present the three mediums simultaneously but separately and to propose a new way of experiencing abstraction in the context of live performance.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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