Mixed Reality / Fall 2017

Featuring Martine Syms, Andrew Schneider, Hieroglyphic Being, Enno Poppe, Boudry/Lorenz, Actress, Ali Moini, Laura Luna, Mohammad Reza Mortazavi, and more

August 9, 2017

“Mixed reality.” This is a term that’s been gaining traction as new media technologies expand our human relationship to the digital world.

From virtual, to augmented, to mixed realities, we find ourselves in a time when traditional categories of identity, environment, knowledge, and experience are in continual flux. Through smartphone applications and, to a greater degree, with platforms like the Microsoft HoloLens, mixed reality environments are beginning to challenge the way we think about human perception by giving our senses a new way of experiencing the ocean of information accessible through computers.

Yet, in a way, this concept is not new. One of art’s core functions has always been to model the virtual, augment our customary modes of seeing, hearing, and feeling, and mix disparate realities in new and evocative ways. Anytime humans gather, converse, collaborate, and perform, individual realities become mixed in the collective process of meaning making. And whenever a new tool or technology comes along to alter this process, artists are among the first to challenge established use patterns and reveal the unseen effects.

EMPAC itself is built on this premise.

By giving artists and researchers the space, time, and infrastructure to work at the “human scale,”1 every EMPAC production is an experiment in mixed reality, whether it involves a VR headset, a hand drum, or a group of moving bodies.

This fall our program kicks off with Martine Syms’ augmented-reality installation, An Evening with Queen White, which will challenge us to consider what remains unseen even in an image-rich immersive environment. Later you’ll have the chance to demo a HoloLens and brainstorm the meaning of “mixed reality” with a member of the Microsoft development team. So it might be useful to carry this perspective into each of this fall’s events. From the quantum meditations of Andrew Schneider’s theatrical performance AFTER, to the refracted cinematic gaze of filmmaker Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, to the “rhythmic cubism” of Hieroglyphic Being’s experimental dance music, we are mixing realities at every opportunity. Not because it brings us closer to the power of the digital but because it’s what makes us human to begin with.

1 For more on human scale, see page 14 of Programming EMPAC PDF containing Goebels' essay, HUMAN SCALE, THE SENSES, and THE CREATION OF MEANING


FALL / 2017 — Rundown

  • AUG 21–SEP 06 — Martine Syms’ augmented reality installation An Evening with Queen White.
  • AUG 31 + SEP 01 — Theater maker Andrew Schneider returns for the world premiere of AFTER.
  • SEP 06 — Martine Syms will screen her new feature-length video, Incense, Sweaters, and Ice.
  • SEP 08 — Chicago dance music experimentalist Hieroglyphic Being will perform an extended set of his trademark outer-orbit house music.
  • SEP 13 — UC Berkeley media theorist Abigail De Kosnik will present a talk The Media Crease: Traces of Reuse in Hard and Soft Copies.
  • SEP 22 — The work of German composer Enno Poppe will take center stage.
  • SEP 28 — Based on a score by the late composer and Rensselaer professor Pauline Oliveros, Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz will screen the final work, Telepathic Improvisation, which calls for the audience to telepathically communicate with the performers, lights, and fleet of autonomous white cubes.
  • OCT 05 — The 2nd installment of Other Uses featuring Marwa Arsanios, Morgan Fisher, Mohammad Fauzi, Deimantas Narkevicius, and Hito Steyerl.
  • OCT 06 — Choreographer Elena Demyanenko and filmmaker Erika Mijlin will offer a work-in-progress preview of Echo/Archive
  • OCT 19 — The 3rd installment of Other Uses featuring Doa Aly, Yto Barrada, Joan Jonas, Shelly Silver, Ana Vaz, and Joyce Wieland.
  • OCT 20 — UK techno legend Actress will share the stage with up-and-coming Swedish DJ Toxe.
  • OCT 27 — Mary Armentrout Dance Theater present a work-in-progress presentation of their developing work, an evening talk by Microsoft developer Kayla Kinnunen.
  • NOV 09 — My Paradoxical KnivesAli Moini’s solo dance based on Persian poetry and the dance of the whirling dervish.
  • NOV 16 — Turner Prize-winning Belgian Laure Prouvost will offer a work-in-progress preview of They Are Waiting for You, a project she's working on in residence at EMPAC.
  • NOV 17 — Mexican multimedia artist Laura Luna works with synthesizers, field recordings, a modded Atari computer, and more to create surreal audio worlds based on science fiction and magical realism.
  • NOV 30 — The final installment of Other Uses featuring films by Beatriz Santiago Muñoz trains the lens on abandoned architecture to plumb the history, geometry, and cinematic potential of everyday neglected landscapes.
  • DEC 01 — Filmmaker Ephraim Asili will offer a work-in-progress screening and discussion of his new feature-length film, Inheritance, based on an urban collective for activists of color.
  • DEC 08 — Iranian hand drummer Mohammad Reza Mortazavi

EMPAC Tours

  • IN ADDITION, THIS FALL EMPAC will be offering free building tours at 2PM on the first Saturday of each month with emphasis as follows:
  • SEP 02 — EMPAC director Johannes Goebel will lead visitors through his initial vision for the space.
  • OCT 07 — lead audio engineer Todd Vos will show visitors the acoustic features of the building as well as the sophisticated recording infrastructure.
  • NOV 04 — stage technologies director Geoff Abbas will demonstrate the versatility of each performance space, taking visitors through the ceiling grid and into the theater fly tower.
  • DEC 02 — curators Victoria Brooks, Ashley Ferro-Murray, and Argeo Ascani will lead a tour of the building with an eye and ear toward the programmatic capabilities of each space.