a view of the concert hall looking from the choir loft across to the balcony. a shiny black steinway grand on the stage. a fabric ceiling extends above like the sails of a ship.

New Research & Arts Appointments at EMPAC

Jonas Braasch and Vic Brooks appointed as Associate Directors
News Type

Troy NY—On July 1, 2022, EMPAC announced two Associate Director appointments to expand the center’s longtime commitment to the intersection of arts and research. These new appointments allow for the wide range of activities – including research and production residencies in arts, science, and engineering, workshops, presentations, and campus-wide events – to continue to fulfill and expand EMPAC’s mission as a major platform for arts and technology on the Rensselaer campus.

Jonas Braasch was appointed to Associate Director, Research and Vic Brooks to Associate Director, Arts in addition to their current positions.

Jonas Braasch is a Professor at the School of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and teaches in the Graduate Program in Architectural Acoustics. Since 2006, he has created and collaborated on many research projects at EMPAC with a focus on immersive acoustic and visual environments, shared telematic spaces, and AI in music, among others. He received an NSF infrastructure grant to develop the CRAIVE-Lab (Collaborative Research Augmented Immersive Virtual Environment) in the Tech Park, which grew out of EMPAC’s panorama screen. Braasch has (co-) authored more than 60 journal and conference papers and three monographs and received funding from the National Science Foundation, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, DFG (German Science Foundation), the European Research Council, New York State Council on the Arts, the Christopher and Dana Reeve and Craig H. Neilsen Foundations.

Vic Brooks is Senior Curator for Time-based Visual Art and joined EMPAC in 2013. She has commissioned and produced many ambitious interdisciplinary works by renowned artists such as Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Martine Syms, Wu Tsang, Tarek Atoui, and Charles Atlas that attend to the unique multisensorial potential of the technical infrastructure and engineering expertise that EMPAC offers. She is a recipient of the Warhol Foundation’s Curatorial Research Fellowship for the forthcoming exhibition Shifting Center, which considers acoustic practices in exhibition-making and is editing the book Tuning Calders Clouds (Athénée Press: Bogotá/Mexico City, 2023) on Alexander Calder’s Acoustic Ceiling (1953) at the Aula Magna auditorium at the Central University of Venezuela in Caracas.


The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center is not just a building, but a university-wide platform where specific programs originate. The building was designed and constructed to have arts, science and engineering use the same spaces and resources at the intersection of digital technology and the human experience, be it for small groups of people or for hundreds of participants. Within a highly complex technical infrastructure, the building and program focus on how we perceive, express, create, communicate, and interact in concrete ways at the intersection of ever-evolving technological tools, ever-changing challenges, and never-ceasing questions of relevance and meaning.

Main image: The concert hall from the choir loft. Photo: Peter/Aaron, ESTO.

July 1, 2022