Residencies

The combination of artist-driven content with new, high-end technology stands at the center of EMPAC’s artistic activities. Artists' projects may intersect with research in science, engineering and the humanities, and lead to new approaches and insights across these disciplines. To this end, EMPAC provides an environment that supports the realization of complex works at any stage from inception to completion. Along with a state-of-the-art facility, we offer residents the support of a staff of experts in audio, video, interactive interfaces, and stage technologies.

Curated Residencies

Artist residencies are the heart of the curatorial program at EMPAC. Much of the work that we present is first developed in residency. In some cases, residencies serve as preliminary work for co-commissioned performances that find their premiere elsewhere. In both cases, curated EMPAC residencies figure into the overarching programming vision of the attending curator and often provide space, resources, and expertise unavailable elsewhere.

Open Call Residencies

In addition to curated residencies, EMPAC maintains an open call for artists to submit residential project ideas. Please read the parameters of our open call process before applying.

Current and Past Residents

Spring 2016

  • CHARLES ATLAS / Various Dates
    New York-based artist Charles Atlas will be in residence throughout 2016 working on the post-production of his EMPAC-commissioned 3D film work with choreographers Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener. The final video and performance will be premiered in January 2017.
  • HANNAH RICKARDS (United Kingdom) / JAN 11–22 / APR 11–25
    UK artist Hannah Rickards will be in residence to test the possibilities of flying a camera from the rigging system in Studio 1 for a developing film and performance project.
  • ENSEMBLE SIGNAL / JAN 22–24
    Ensemble Signal will return to complete their ongoing recording of the works of American composer Steve Reich. This recording of Radio Rewrite, Reich's 2012 composition for 11 players, will be released by the label Harmonia Mundi.
  • ANDROS ZINS-BROWNE AND KARTHIK PANDIAN
    (Brussels, USA) / JAN 25–29 / MAR 22–April 1
    Choreographer Andros Zins-Browne and visual artist Karthik Pandian will be in residence to film two camels against EMPAC's green screen for their new performance Atlas Revisited.
  • AMIRTHA KIDAMBI / JAN 28–31
    Harmonium player and vocalist Amirtha Kidambi’s quartet Elder Ones will be in residence in the Concert Hall to record, mix, and master an audio recording of her new work Mother Tongues.
  • NATE WOOLEY / FEB 8–12
    Musician Nate Wooley will be in residence in the Concert Hall to make audio and video documentation of his solo trumpet work For Kenneth Gaburo.
  • THE MUSIC OF SALVATORE SCIARRINO / APR 11–15
    Rensselaer Arts Department faculty Nicholas DeMasion will be rehearsing and conducting ensemble works by Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino for performance on April 14.
  • WU TSANG / APR 11–15
    Artist Wu Tsang will be in residence in the theater with her collaborators boychild and Patrick Belaga to work on the staging of a new iteration of their performance Moved by the Motion.
  • LONGLEASH / APR 25–28
    The Longleash trio (piano, violin, cello) will be in residence in the Concert Hall making audio recordings of new compositions by Reiko Füting, Yukiko Watanabe, Christopher Trapani, and Clara Iannotta for future release.
  • PATRICIA L BOYD / APR 25–28
    Artist Patricia L Boyd will be in residence to film an intricate sequence of tracking shots using a networked group of cameras rigged in EMPAC's Theater. The residency is part of a developing moving-image project.
  • TAREK ATOUI (Lebanon) / MAY 2–13
    Sound artist Tarek Atoui will be in residence for the final EMPAC presentation of his multi-year research and performance project developing tools and techniques for performing sound to a hearing-impaired audience.

Fall 2015

  • ANT HAMPTON / The Extra People (United Kingdom) / SEPT 8–13
    Working with binaural audio recording technology and a number of test audiences, British artist Ant Hampton will prepare the premiere of his interactive theater piece in which the audience-turned-performers receive instructions through earbuds.
  • ELIZABETH ORR / Mount Rushmore / SEPT 8–19 + OCT 20–NOV 2
    Brooklyn-based artist Elizabeth Orr will combine a green-screen shoot with motion graphics to tell the story of a Mount Rushmore park ranger interrupted from his daily routine by alarmist political email.
  • TAREK ATOUI (Lebanon) / SEPT 14–25
    Lebanese sound artist Tarek Atoui will collaborate with Rensselaer Distinguished Research Professor of Music Pauline Oliveros to engage students in designing and building new instruments and interfaces for performance.
  • MARK FELL / Recursive Frame Analysis (United Kingdom) / SEPT 21–OCT 11
    British electronic artist Mark Fell will put the finishing touches on his first work integrating dance with sound and light design. The project has required the EMPAC team to design and build a specialized strobe light interface.
  • JENNIFER WEST / SEPT 30–OCT 2
    Los Angeles-based artist Jennifer West is in residence to develop Film Memory, an installation in which she integrates 100 channels of film to explore cinema as a material repository of memory.
  • FRANCE JOBIN (Canada) / OCT 5–16
    Using an array of specifically placed loudspeakers numbering in the dozens, Montreal composer France Jobin will develop and present a new work of “sound sculpture” built for the EMPAC Concert Hall.
  • ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER / OCT 9–16
    Known for making intricate electronic music, Daniel Lopatin (AKA Oneohtrix Point Never) will be in residence to develop and premiere new material set for release later in 2015.
  • TIM HECKER (Canada) / NOV 9–16
    Canadian electronic musician Tim Hecker will create a new stage performance of sound and light in Studio 1.
  • YARN/WIRE / NOV 6–8
    Brooklyn-based two-piano, two-percussion ensemble Yarn/Wire is in residence to record and produce newly commissioned works for future release.
  • CHARLES ATLAS, RASHAUN MITCHELL, AND SILAS RIENER / NOV 9–25
    Media-dance pioneer Charles Atlas will continue his EMPAC commission, shooting the final sections of a stereoscopic film in collaboration with dancer/choreographers Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener.
  • PATRICIA L BOYD (United Kingdom) / DEC 7–18
    San Francisco-based Patricia L Boyd will be in residence to film throughout the EMPAC building in collaboration with both performers and EMPAC production staff.
  • CARLOS CORDEIRO / DEC 14–20
    Clarinetist Carlos Cordeiro is in residence in the Concert Hall to record and produce material for future release. He will record work by composers Boulez, Sciarrino, and others.

Spring 2015

  • ROSA BARBA (Germany)
    Berlin-based artist Rosa Barba was in residence for the development of a site-specific EMPAC commission, working in collaboration with Heidi Newberg, professor of physics, applied physics, and astronomy and director of Rensselaer’s Hirsch Observatory, and Rensselaer physics undergraduate students Nicholas Palmieri, Jake Weiss, and Thomas Hartmann.
  • DAVÍ∂ BRYNJAR FRANZSON (Iceland)
    Icelandic composer Davíð Brynjar Franzson was in residence with ensemble Yarn/Wire to record, edit, and master both audio and video for an upcoming release.
  • ELLIE GA
    Ellie Ga was in residence to develop her lecture-performance Eureka, a lighthouse play.
  • MICHAEL GORDON + VICKY CHOW (Canada)
  • LAUREL HALO
  • JUDY RADUL
  • LUCY RAVEN
    Lucy Raven’s residency at EMPAC focused on her research into the history and evolution of 3D-film technologies.
  • CALLY SPOONER (United Kingdom)
  • TALEA ENSEMBLE

2014

  • LAURIE ANDERSON
    Begun as a 40-minute personal essay for French-German Arte TV, Heart of a Dog by EMPAC distinguished artist-in-residence Laurie Anderson captures a series of interconnected confessional stories set against a soundtrack of original music. Partially filmed at EMPAC, the film has been expanded to feature length, driven by Anderson’s spirit of transformation, embracing uncertainty in her process while allowing the work to take on new properties as it was being made.
  • CHARLES ATLAS
    Charles Atlas was in residence to develop a commissioned theatrical production intertwining dance, live 3D video, and music, working in collaboration with choreographers Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener.
  • ROSA BARBA + JAN ST WERNER (Germany)
    Berlin-based artist Rosa Barba was in residence for the development of a site-specific EMPAC commission, working in collaboration with Heidi Newberg, professor of physics, applied physics, and astronomy and director of Rensselaer’s Hirsch Observatory, and Rensselaer physics undergraduate students Nicholas Palmieri, Jake Weiss, and Thomas Hartmann.
  • SELINE BAUMGARTNER (US/Switzerland)
    For this DANCE MOViES Commission, Seline Baumgartner worked with professional choreographers/dancers over the age of 62 (Meg Harper, Sally Gross, and Vicky Shick) to explore how contemporary dance forms indulge in the eternal cult of youth.
  • ORIT BEN-SHITRIT (US/Israel)
    At EMPAC, Ben-Shitrit and her team, including choreographer Kate Corby, participated in an intense 10-day residency culminating in a three-day shoot with more than 20 people.
  • BLOOPERS — SARA MAGENHEIMER, MICHAEL BELL-SMITH, + BEN VIDA
    Brooklyn-based artists Michael Bell Smith, Sara Magenheimer, and Ben Vida were in residence to produce a new video for their commissioned performance Bloopers #1. Using EMPAC’s Black-magic 4K camera, they filmed multiple house-hold objects, as well as actors, on a custom-built rotating platform embedded into a vinyl green screen.
  • PATRICIA L. BOYD (United Kingdom)
  • VICKY CHOW (Canada)
    Chow was in residence to record Surface Image by Tristan Perich. A work for solo piano accompanied by 40 channels of 1-bit electronic sounds, Surface Image is a 60-minute composition that juxtaposes acoustic human performance and the sounds of hand-built electronics.
  • DD DORVILLIER (US/France)
    Extra Shapes explores ideas of spectatorship and the perceptual and functional differences between movement, sound, and light. The piece occupies a rotating, rectangular space divided into three equal and autonomous spaces dedicated to sound, light, and dance, respectively.
  • ECCE / PER BLOLAND
    The contemporary music ensemble ECCE was in residence in EMPAC’s Concert Hall to make video and audio recordings of works by composer Per Bloland. Best known for his compositions using the electromagnetically-prepared piano, Bloland’s music fuses acoustic instruments with electronic sound, creating a richly unified whole that neither element alone could produce.
  • SABISHA FRIEDBERG (South Africa)
    Sound artist Sabisha Friedberg’s work explores perceptual thresholds, focused sub-sonic compositions, and low-frequency levitation. It pulls together concepts from the perceptual, phenomenological, and phantasmagorical to create thought-provoking, mystifying pieces. During her residency, Friedberg offered a talk and a work-in-progress installation/performance.
  • STAVROS GASPARATOS (Greece)
    During two production residencies, Stavros Gasparatos—a composer and digital sound artist— preapared for the world premiere of Expanded Piano, an EMPAC commission.
  • JACQUELINE KIYOMI GORDON
    Sound artist Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon worked in residence to investigate how one’s perception of sound can be changed as he or she moves through space. Gordon created an interconnected series of listening rooms, each built with modular walls composed of a variety of materials (stone, metal, wood, cloth, etc.), and within it created a perpetually shifting audio experience from diffused sound projected from a ring of loudspeakers.
  • LAUREL HALO
  • GERMAINE KRUIP (Belgium)
    In A Possibility of an Abstraction, Germaine Kruip created an atmospheric film-like effect without actually using film, accomplished by manipulating light across the proscenium stage that served as a stand-in for the screen.
  • EVE SUSSMAN + SIMON LEE
    During a three-week film production residency, the team installed a large structural set, prepared all the props, costumes, lighting setup, as well as camera testing, leading up to a week-long filming period that transformed EMPAC’s Theater stage into a full-scale soundstage.
  • ROBERT AA LOWE + SABRINA RATTÉ (US/Canada)
    Created in residence over three weeks, the artists worked in collaboration; using real-time synthesis, Ratté modified live video while Lowe used his voice as the source of his sonic manipulations. Inspired by René Daumal’s novel Mount Analogue, the first work of literature to use the word peradam to describe “an object that is revealed only to those who seek it,” Lowe’s composition for the modular synthesizer focused on the texture of a consistent equilibrium between the peak and valley of a sound wave to create a heightened experience akin to ecstatic music.
  • MARIANNE M. KIM
    Kim and her team worked with EMPAC staff on location filming topographical material to be projected as a backdrop on a giant wall constructed at EMPAC, which consisted of hundreds of layered paper panels to create a pixel-like effect. An intricate lighting design to accentuate these panels/pixels was created, followed by rehearsals and filming of the two performers on the set.
  • RALPH LEMON
    After several years and multiple residency visits, Ralph Lemon premiered 4Walls, a live multimedia dance installation that provides four points of view on one dance, giving a new shape to a “dance with no form.”
  • ISABELLE PAUWELS (Canada)
    ,000, is a multimedia theatrical production that tracks the history of the Canadian city of New Westminster along with biographical details of its residents and the urban landscape that they inhabit.
  • ANTHONY MARCELLINI
    Obsolescere: The Thing is Falling was a performance that captures objects at the moment their usefulness becomes uncertain. The title is drawn from the Latin obsolescere—“falling into disuse”—the idea that when an object falls out of use over the course of time it shows that obsolescence is not a fixed point, but instead is an active and fluctuating state.
  • MIVOS QUARTET / ERIC WUBBELS
    The Mivos Quartet, one of the most sought-after string quartets in the international new music scene, performed the world premiere of a new work for string quartet and electronics by American composer Eric Wubbels, developed while in residence.
  • MELVIN MOTI (The Netherlands)
    Melvin Moti led a team of undergraduate physics and engineering students to assemble the components of The Vision Machine: a light source shines through a prism and reflects off a series of Mylar-covered panels affixed to a rotating bike chain, projecting a kaleidoscopic display on the wall. The effect evokes rainbows, sundogs, halos, and other atmospheric optical effects that rely on the position and perspective of the viewer to become visible.
  • LUCY RAVEN
    Lucy Raven’s residency at EMPAC focused on her research into the history and evolution of 3D-film technologies.
  • TEMPORARY DISTORTION
    A six-hour performance—combining live music, text, and video—where the performers were confined in a freestanding 24΄ x 6΄ soundproof box. Free to come and go, the audience was able to see the inside, stationed at windows, and listen to the performance through headphones whenever they chose. But the performers could only see their reflections in the two-way mirrors, stretching off infinitely in both directions.
  • AARON LANDSMAN & BRENT GREEN
    Theater director Aaron Landsman, visual artist and filmmaker Brent Green, and performer Jim Findlay collaborated on Empathy School, an EMPAC commission that combined travel, theater, and audio in a contained space—a bus trip—where listening to another person’s stories is the only possible act of togetherness.
  • ERIKA VOGT with MATH BASS, SHANNON EBNER, LAUREN DAVIS FISHER, MARIAH GARNETT, MPA, SILKE OTTO-KNAPP + FLORA WIEGMANN, ADAM PUTNAM, MARK SO
    Los Angeles-based artist Erika Vogt presented a collaborative theatrical production that brought together visual artists and performers who work across media, including Math Bass, Shannon Ebner, Lauren Davis Fisher, Mariah Garnett, MPA, Silke Otto-Knapp & Flora Wiegmann, Adam Putnam, and Mark So.
  • YARN/WIRE

2013

  • LAURIE ANDERSON
  • ARCHITEUTHIS WALKS ON LAND
    Violist Amy Cimini and bassoonist Katherine Young have been performing together as Architeuthis Walks on Land since 2003. Cimini and Young were in residence to record, mix, and master their album The Surveyors.
  • MANUELLA BLACKBURN (United Kingdom) Blackburn was in residence to work on a composition commissioned by EMPAC called Time Will Tell. Assembled from the sounds of various clocks recorded across upstate New York, Blackburn transformed their mechanistic tick into a frantic and moving world of sound.
  • INFRAROUGE / MARIE BRASSARD (Canada)
    Marie Brassard and Infrarouge, her Montréal-based theater company, completed their work in residence and then premiered it at EMPAC. The company developed reactive video, light, and sound environments that would respond to performers in a mix of accidental and planned ways.
  • CHAMECKILERNER (Brazil)
    In residence to produce an EMPAC-commissioned dance film, chameckilerner experimented in the use of high-speed video to achieve extreme slow-motion images of dancers’ bodies—of various ages and shapes—in an Eskasizer vibrating belt massager.
  • VICKY CHOW (Canada)
    Chow was in residence to record Surface Image by Tristan Perich. A work for solo piano accompanied by 40 channels of 1-bit electronic sounds, Surface Image is a 60-minute composition that juxtaposes acoustic human performance and the sounds of hand-built electronics.
  • CREW / ERIC JORIS (Belgium)
    The goal for HeadSwap was to allow participants to choose an individual point of view within footage shot in Japan and New York City, while “swapping their heads”: simultaneously seeing what another person chooses to see. During a three-week research residency, Joris and a multi-disciplinary team of designers, programmers, and dramaturges worked to composite different video and graphic sources and find a way to view the end result in an “omnidirectional” way.
  • PETRA CORTRIGHT
    Petra Cortright’s Bridal Shower was produced during a Frieze Film commission production residency. The work moves beyond Cortright’s past Internet-based experiments to test new production values associated with broadcasting.
  • EARLY MORNING OPERA / LARS JAN
    HOLOSCENES is part of a suite of multi-format artworks inspired by flooding; the name refers to our current geological epoch, the Holocene. During a month-long production and research residency, Jan and his designers, performers, and programmers worked with EMPAC’s production team to create a gigantic laboratory for the large-scale commercial water tanks and program the high-speed transfer of five tons of water between the two tanks by regulating hydraulic pumps.
  • PETER EVANS QUINTET
    Evans and his ensemble performed at EMPAC while they were in residence recording material for their next album. Evans is a trumpet player and composer based in New York City who works across a wide spectrum of contemporary music practices.
  • MARK FELL (United Kingdom)
    British electronic musician Mark Fell was in residence to create three site-specific audio and light installations and an immersive performance in the Concert Hall. Each of the installation pieces used the same algorithm to generate different effects: a cube of color-scrolling lights; a three-floor, haze-filled room permeated by vibrantly oscillating light and sound; and a massive, dark space filled by a strobe-lit skydancer.
  • DAVÍ∂ BRYNJAR FRANZSON (Iceland)
    Icelandic composer Davíð Brynjar Franzson was in residence with ensemble Yarn/Wire to record, edit, and master both audio and video for an upcoming release. Franzson is known for his experimentation with music at the edge of perception, bringing sounds from between the cracks of consciousness to the forefront of perception.
  • BEN FROST (Australia)
    Ben Frost’s music is not just heard; it’s felt. Influenced by classical minimalism, punk rock, and metal, he creates intense, monolithic sounds that command attention. While using EMPAC’s Studio 1 for tracking, he routed sound back through the Concert Hall, transforming it into a real-time reverb chamber.
  • ELLIE GA
    Ellie Ga’s experience at the marine archaeology program at Alexandria University, and describes the journey of an artist lost in the process of research and the impossible effort to piece together the thousands of stones barely visible on the seabed. Spanning a variety of media, Ga’s work probes the distinctions between documentary and fiction, private and public histories, writing and visual inscriptions, and the still and moving image.
  • COLIN GEE
  • SAM GREEN
    Sam Green, a San Francisco-based documentary filmmaker, worked at EMPAC on post-production of a 30-minute experimental documentary about fog in San Francisco. His residency at EMPAC allowed the filmmaker to edit his film while viewing it on a large cinema screen with a 30,000-lumens projector rather than on a computer monitor—a rarity for independent filmmakers—enabling him to make informed choices about the tempo and sequencing of the film, as it would be experienced by audiences.
  • DANA GINGRAS (Canada)
    Choreographer and director Dana Gingras came to EMPAC to create a short film based on the dance performance Chainreaction; the result was a collision of dance, animation, and sound that juxtaposes the movements of two live performers with the motion of animated projections, in a continuous interactive evolution.
  • GORDON HALL
    Hall worked in residence at EMPAC conducting research on the history of lecture-performances, from the tradition of the soapbox lecture to the relationship between contemporary artists Robert Morris and Simone Forti. The culmination of Hall’s research was a presentation that used sculptural objects, sound, and projected image, titled “Read me that part a-gain, where I disin-herit everybody” after a line from composer John Cage’s 1959 Lecture on Nothing.
  • KURT HENTSCHLÄGER
    Austrian artist Kurt Hentschläger was in residence developing his audiovisual work CLUSTER, an evolutionary step in his artistic practice. A work in progress that began in 2004 combining seven complete, independent works, a full-length stereoscopic version of CLUSTER premiered in 2012.
  • MARIA KEFIROVA (Canada)
    Next to Focus was an interactive performance/installation where a performer actively produces or relocates the sound, and at the same time, is driven and mobilized by it. The collaborators—choreographer Maria Kefirova, visual artist Miguel A. Melgares, and composer and sound designer Martin Messier—worked at EMPAC on choreographing movement of sound in relation to the performers’ body and static objects.
  • PATRICIA LENNOX-BOYD (United Kingdom)
    Patricia L Boyd’s short film was produced during her Frieze Film commission production residency at EMPAC. It features an EMPAC production technician self-recording the assembly and breakdown of his Dodge truck engine. During a two-week shoot at EMPAC, Boyd experimented with different scenarios for capturing and combining handheld camera motion to create a film that resists the idea that gesture can be read as a transparent revelation of authorship.
  • MIGUEL ANGEL MELGARES (Spain/Netherlands)
    Next to Focus was an interactive performance/installation where a performer actively produces or relocates the sound, and at the same time, is driven and mobilized by it. The collaborators—choreographer Maria Kefirova, visual artist Miguel A. Melgares, and composer and sound designer Martin Messier—worked at EMPAC on choreographing movement of sound in relation to the performers’ body and static objects.
  • BORU O'BRIEN O'CONNELL Boru O’Brien O’Connell came to EMPAC to shoot and edit this two-channel video installation in preparation for a solo exhibition at The Kitchen. Taking the work of industrial designer and illustrator John Vassos as the starting point, production involved a complex video shoot utilizing slow overhead tracking shots of desks, cameras, and microphones in a black and white set.
  • ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER Oneohtrix Point Never—aka Daniel Lopatin—is a Brooklyn-based composer who creates electronic music that is often described as “cinematic” and “orchestral.” In preparation for the performance, Lopatin was in residence in the Concert Hall with visual artist Nate Boyce developing the live touring show for his album R Plus Seven.
  • OPENENDED GROUP + JAROSLAW KAPUSCINSKI
    This residency supported a collaborative project featuring music by composer Jaroslaw Kapuściński and projections by The OpenEnded Group. The resulting work, Linked Verse, premiered at Stanford Live and was an evening-length concerto for cello (Maya Beiser), Japanese shõ (Ko Ishikawa), voice and surround sound from 24 speakers, and live 3D stereoscopic visual projection.
  • LUCY RAVEN
    Lucy Raven’s residency at EMPAC focused on her research into the history and evolution of 3D-film technologies. Raven investigated the fluid cultural perception of the form’s use of spatial depth, and uncovered the mechanisms of industrial cinema production through analysis of the transnational circulation of labor and materials.
  • A TWO DOGS COMPANY / KRIS VERDONCK (Belgium)
    ISOS is a 3D video installation inspired by the apocalyptic science fiction novels of J.G. Ballard. Theater maker and visual artist Kris Verdonck worked extensively in residence on this installation, which focuses on the feeling of estrangement and “unheimlichkeit” (or eeriness) that arises from the tension between man and machine.
  • ERIKA VOGT
    Los Angeles-based artist Erika Vogt presented a collaborative theatrical production that brought together visual artists and performers who work across media, including Math Bass, Shannon Ebner, Lauren Davis Fisher, Mariah Garnett, MPA, Silke Otto-Knapp & Flora Wiegmann, Adam Putnam, and Mark So.
  • CABULA6 / JEREMY XIDO (Austria, Netherlands, US)
    The Angola Project is a series of multimedia lecture-performances that investigate the convoluted nature of storytelling, global travel, colonial history, and shifting notions of home in our age of polycultural mashup identities. The third part of the work, Part 3–XIN, was commissioned by and developed at EMPAC, where the artists surrounded a boxing ring with four screens and tested interactive components, including a heart-monitor sensor, which could trigger audio and video, as well as speech-recognition software.
  • WOJTEK ZIEMILSKI (Poland)
    In the 1950s, the CIA participated in the promotion of American art for propagandistic purpose, investing funds to turn an unexpected group of artists—Jackson Pollock and other abstract expressionists among them—into international art stars exemplifying America’s creativity. Central Intelligence Agency centers on stories, the difficulty of objectivity, and how judgment can become hostage to what we see.

2012

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2005