Film Conversation & “Starship Troopers” @ EMPAC [Berkshire on Stage]

July 19th, 2017, 10:00 am by Sara

On Thursday (July 20) at 7pm, Hollywood special-effects legend Phil Tippett (“Star Wars,” “Indiana Jones,” “RoboCop”) will join artist Lucy Raven at EMPAC at RPI in Troy for an evening of conversation and film screenings, including the sci-fi classic “Starship Troopers,” for which Tippett designed the early digital monster effects.

Before the event, at 6pm, Raven will celebrate the release of her new EMPAC-produced book, “Low Relief,” charting the strange history of 3D cinema and her experiments with the form.

The founder of Tippett Studios, Phil Tippett has worked over 30 years on visual effects for the film industry. In 1996, he accompanied director Paul Verhoeven to the Badlands of Wyoming to scout locations for the film “Starship Troopers,” which imagines warfare in the 23rd century between planet-colonizing humans and alien bugs called Arachnids. Under a staircase in his Berkley studio, Tippett recently rediscovered 12 hours of VHS tapes documenting the visualization strategy he undertook in transforming the barren landscape into a battlefield covered in digital monsters.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.


ArtBeat: Welcome Scarlet Seven [Get Visual]

May 30th, 2017, 3:00 pm by Sara
An interior view of Scarlet Seven Fine Art Gallery

An interior view of Scarlet Seven Fine Art Gallery

By David Brickman

Whenever a new gallery opens in the Capital Region, it is cause for celebration. But then comes the inevitable question – will it last?

A large and enthusiastic crowd greeted the opening of Scarlet Seven Fine Art Gallery at 137 4th Street in Troy on Friday night (during the ever-popular Troy Night Out), giving a strong impression that this space is desired and appreciated. Owners Jon Gernon and Jillian Platt presided over the event, which featured 12 regional artists of strong reputation and diverse work. After a ribbon-cutting ceremony to be held on Wednesday (May 31), the gallery will be open from 1-7pm Wednesdays-Fridays; 12noon-4pm Saturdays; and 12noon-3pm on Sundays; the current show runs through Sunday, June 25.

The space is grand and nicely proportioned, with plenty of exposed brick, wooden floor and a solid glass front that puts the venue on permanent street-level display, tantalizing passersby with the challenge of finding the entrance, which is way around back and neatly hidden under a giant, blank wall of brick and ivy. This may be a clever approach – if you make it hard to find, people will be inspired to put in the effort. Feeling like you’ve discovered something special, perhaps you will buy.

Click to read the rest at Get Visual.

FREE: Choreographer Trajal Harrell’s “The Return of La Argentina” @ EMPAC [Berkshire on Stage]

April 25th, 2017, 1:30 pm by Sara

At 5pm today (Tuesday, April 25) choreographer Trajal Harrell will present a special matinee performance of his dance The Return of La Argentina at EMPAC at RPI in Troy. The performance will take place on the EMPAC Mezzanine, and admission is free.

The performance marks the beginning of Harrell’s artist residency at EMPAC, where he will be developing a new choreographic work. Known for bridging the choreographic legacy of Judson Church, a downtown New York City hotbed for postmodern invention, with the culture of “vogue” that originated in the Harlem underground, Harrell works at the intersection of different movement languages, race and gender.

In The Return of La Argentina, Harrell mixes postmodern/vogue styles with the Japanese dance/theater form butoh, co-founded by Kazuo Ohno and Tatsumi Hijikata. Whereas Harlem voguing is inspired by the movements of models, Ohno and Hijikata’s signature work Admiring La Argentina was inspired by La Argentina, the stage name of the famous Spanish dancer Antonia Merce. In his reinterpretation of the classic, Harrell channels Merce’s persona through both the butoh framework and his own vogue sensibilities. This web of danced relationships brings the audience on a journey of remembering, forgetting, memorializing and ritualizing.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Filmmaker Mariam Ghani to Screen Rare Afghan Films at EMPAC [Berkshire on Stage]

April 24th, 2017, 1:30 pm by Sara

A 7pm tonight (Monday, April 24), artist Mariam Ghani will present a selection of rare films produced between 1978-1991 from the Afghan Film Archive at EMPAC at RPI in Troy.

What We Left Unfinished is Ghani’s long-term research and film project.

Working in the dual role of artist and historian, Ghani describes the project as “centered around five unfinished Afghan feature films shot, but never edited, between 1978 and 1992: years that encompass the Afghan Communist coup d’état, attempted reforms that met bitter rural resistance, a series of internal purges and assassinations, the Soviet invasion and withdrawal, a five-year attempt at national reconciliation, the handover of power to a mujahidin coalition, and finally dissolution into civil war.

“From the unfinished films commissioned, produced and canceled by various iterations of the Afghan state, in various moments of the Afghan Communist project, we can reconstruct not the truths, precisely, of how the state existed and acted in those moments, but rather its most important fictions: its desires and fears, ambitions and ghosts. In the imaginary presented by most finished films of the period, we see the ideal People’s Democratic Republic that could have been, but wasn’t; in the unfinished films, the reality–a utopian project secured by violent force–lingers like a shadow, just barely concealed behind allegories and codes. The world around the films, where filmmaking itself was a dangerous enterprise, seeps into the world onscreen.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Today: Choreographer Mary Armentrout Offers Workshop @ EMPAC [Berkshire on Stage]

April 12th, 2017, 1:30 pm by Sara

Today (Wednesday, April 12), San Francisco-based choreographer Mary Armentrout will conduct an open workshop at EMPAC at RPI in Troy. Titled From Feldenkrais to GoPro, the event will introduce participants to the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education in the context of contemporary media technologies such as the GoPro portable camera. The workshop runs from 5-8pm. Admission is free and open to the public.

The Feldenkrais Method is a system of gentle movement exercises meant to bring conscious attention to the bodily experience. In a traditional therapeutic context, the system is used to treat both physical and mental conditions by improving communication between the body and the brain’s motor cortex. Armentrout uses the Feldenkrais Method to understand everyday movements and environments as she integrates them into her artistic work as a choreographer.

Founding director of Mary Armentrout Dance Theater, Armentrout is currently in residence at EMPAC to develop a new site-specific performance in downtown Troy, along with media artist Ian Winters, composer Evelyn Ficarra and performer Chris Evans. Workshop participants will work with the full group of collaborators to not only learn Fledenkrais technique but to also begin integrating gestures and movement within contemporary media technology, especially the GoPro camera.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Dinner Theater Fundraiser for ARC of Rensselaer County [Berkshire on Stage]

April 4th, 2017, 1:30 pm by Sara

Today (Tuesday, April 4) is the Arc of Rensselaer County Dinner Theater Fund RaiserPlay With Your Food. Three short plays – Geriatric Fulfillment Center, Be Careful What You Wish For and It Takes a New Village – by award-winning local playwright Joe Starzyk, sandwiched around a three course meal. The event takes place today (Tuesday, April 4) from 6-9 pm at Brown’s Brewing’s Revolution Hall in Troy. Tickets are going fast so call 518-274-3110 to reserve seating. An evening of food & fun to help a good cause.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Obie Award-Winning Theater Artist Andrew Schneider Offers Free Work-in-Progress Preview [Berkshire on Stage]

March 29th, 2017, 3:00 pm by Sara

On Thursday (March 30) at 8PM, interactive-electronics artist and writer Andrew Schneider will offer a preview of his new work-in-progress, FIELD, at EMPAC at RPI in Troy. Admission is free and open to the public. Due to limited capacity, however, we suggest audience members arrive early.

This performance will cap the third in a series of production residencies at EMPAC, during which Schneider has worked on the follow-up to YOUARENOWHERE, the winner of an Off-Broadway Theater Award (Obie) in 2015. The new show will receive its soft launch at EMPAC in fall 2017 before premiering in New York City.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

A Talk by Media Theorist Susan Kozel @ EMPAC [Berkshire on Stage]

March 28th, 2017, 1:00 pm by Sara

On Wednesday (March 29), EMPAC at RPI will host media theorist Susan Kozel to discuss her research on the convergence of philosophy, dance and media technologies. The talk, titled When Performance and Philosophy Become Design Materials: Dialogues Between Dance and Interaction Design, will start at 7pm. Admission is free and open to the public.

In the realm of human-computer interaction — a field that drives the development of immersive and virtual digital environments and performances — the physical and affective aspect of the human experience has often received secondary consideration within the design and development of new technologies. Integrating the practice of dance improvisation with an analysis of the human body in digital culture, Kozel offers a somatic counterpoint to this tech-driven approach to HCI.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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