The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) will celebrate a decade of adventurous programming at the intersection of art, science, and technology, October 11-13, 2018. The celebration, 10 YEARS, will commemorate the opening of the landmark performing-arts/research center in 2008. Over the past decade EMPAC has commissioned, produced, and presented an internationally renowned lineup of cross-genre performances. The events will include newly commissioned productions by artists Ellen Arkbro, Maria Hassabi, Isabelle Pauwels, Yara Travieso, and Moved by the Motion, as well as performances by Trajal Harrell, and more. Full lineup forthcoming.

Hailed by The New York Times as “the concert hall of the 21st century” upon its opening in October 2008, EMPAC is widely regarded as the country’s most technologically advanced performing arts center and serves as a model for new initiatives, centers, and institutions around the globe. An icon of The New Polytechnic, Rensselaer’s pioneering vision of transdisciplinary education and research, EMPAC was designed by the London-based architecture firm Grimshaw, and supports the development of projects that bridge the traditional domains of art and science, using immersive media technologies to explore the ever-changing relationship between our human senses, technology, and the worlds we create around us.

In its first decade, EMPAC has commissioned more than 100 time-based artworks across the disciplines of music, dance, theater, visual arts, and moving image, has presented over 600 cross-genre productions, logged over 4,000 days of research and artist residencies, and developed pioneering experimental media technologies. Projects developed at EMPAC have gone on to tour internationally and have garnered a host of awards including a Pulitzer Prize nomination for Kate Soper’s Ipsa Dixit and Oscar short-list selection for Laurie Anderson’s Heart of a Dog. Looking to the future, 10 YEARS celebrates these achievements with three days of exceptional new performances, installations, and screenings.

The celebration will include presentations of cross-disciplinary research at EMPAC, demonstrating technologies such as the Wave Field Synthesis 3-D audio system developed by EMPAC engineers, and highlighting the work of CISL / Cognitive and Immersive Systems Laboratory, a joint research venture between Rensselaer and IBM developing new human-scale computer interfaces integrating AI with human group interactions.

10 YEARS will feature world premieres of several new performances developed at and for the EMPAC venues. Canadian artist Isabelle Pauwels will present If It Bleeds, her theatrical take on the TV spectacle of mixed martial arts (MMA). Swedish composer Ellen Arkbro will perform a new piece written for EMPAC’s 550-speaker Wave Field Synthesis 3-D audio system. Moved by the Motion (the collaborative moniker of Wu Tsang and boychild) will present a new multidisciplinary stage work One Image is a Lie, the Other Unavailable. And Maria Hassabi and Yara Travieso will present new works also developed at EMPAC.

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