Charles Atlas, Rashaun Mitchell, and Silas Riener

Friday, January 27, 2017
January 27–28, 2017

The new two-part work, Tesseract, by artist Charles Atlas and choreographers Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener, will be presented for the first time following several years of development at EMPAC on Friday, January 27th and Saturday, January 28th both at 8PM.

The evening will commence with the world premiere of the stereoscopic 3D video Tesseract ▢. A six-chapter work of science fiction, it is Atlas’ first “dance video” in over a decade. Filmed with a mobile camera rig that moves with the choreography, Tesseract ▢ traverses a series of hybrid and imagined worlds staged and filmed over a series of EMPAC production residencies. Each chapter combines a specific set, choreography, and camera motion to encompass pas de deux and ensemble pieces, choreographed and performed by former Merce Cunningham dancers Mitchell and Riener. Manipulating the 3D footage to combine live dance with animation, Atlas’ distinctive video effects reach into otherworldly dimensions beyond the stage.

For the second part of the evening, Tesseract ◯ expands the view from film frame to proscenium stage. A performance for six dancers and multiple mobile cameras—the footage of which Atlas will manipulate in real-time and project back onto the stage—Tesseract ◯ superimposes the space of dance with live cinematic production, rendering a choreographic analogue to the four-dimensional cube from which the piece takes its title.

Tesseract ▢ Score composed by Fennesz
Tesseract ◯ Score composed and performed by Mas Ysa

Victoria Brooks

A consistent pioneer of the synthesis of technology and performance, Charles Atlas has worked at the intersection of the moving image, visual art, and choreography for over four decades. Since his first collaborations with choreographer Merce Cunningham in the 1970s, Atlas' moving-image work has been seminal in defining a vivid cinematic language for articulating dance on screen and deliberately eschews the documentary model of dance films through an active, mobile camera that mediates our experience of movement in space. In his videos, the camera is not just witness but also dancer, creating an image wholly inseparable from the dance it records.

Brooklyn-based choreographers Silas Riener and Rashaun Mitchell are driven by the potential of choreography to reach beyond the limits of its inherent language. Their collaborative work revels in the possibilities of the highly articulated dancing body where current and historical influences and aesthetic forms are collapsed into a hybrid physical and visually charged language.

January 27, 2017, 8PM
January 28, 2017, 8PM

Tesseract ▢ by Charles Atlas / Rashaun Mitchell / Silas Riener was commissioned and produced by EMPAC/ Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and co-commissioned by Triangle France.
Tesseract ◯ by Charles Atlas / Rashaun Mitchell / Silas Riener was co-commissioned by EMPAC/ Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and On the Boards.
Tesseract was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Tesseract was developed, in part, through residencies at EMPAC/ Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, The Watermill Center, and the Walker Art Center.


EMPAC 2016–17 presentations, residencies, and commissions are supported by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts.