“There is no re-entry. It’s a 70-minute performance.” These words are what I was greeted with when arriving at Francisco Lopez’s latest project at EMPAC in Troy. The experience is to be taken as a whole. When I walked to the second door in the inner shell of EMPAC I was handed a blindfold.
Lopez’s performance piece “Hyper-Rainforest” is a form of digital shamanism. Lopez creates the setting and controls the 80-channel mix from his station at the sound board.
You walk into EMPAC’s concert hall and instead of the seats being filled to the brim, there is a round platform in the middle of the floor that has four concentric circles of cushioned black folding chairs facing a gap in the middle.
We (the audience) were sitting there staring at each other. It seemed like an odd mix between group therapy and a séance. The conversation and vibe seemed to rise and fall as the group occasionally grew loud, and then fell silent in anticipation.