The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is pleased to announce the hiring of Ashley Ferro-Murray to the position of Curator of Theater and Dance. With a background in choreography and critical theory, Ferro-Murray comes to EMPAC following the recent completion of a PhD in Performance Studies from the University of California, Berkeley with a focus on New Media.

The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer recently debuted a unique new system that explores the relationship between sound and space. “Think of it like a pebble dropping into a pond,” says EMPAC’s lead audio engineer Todd Vos, describing the way a sound wave emanates from a speaker head. Now picture 500 tiny speakers arranged in a continuous ring around the room. As every one of those speakers casts sound into the room, the waves overlap and intersect, creating a dense, three-dimensional, immersive sound environment for a listener to explore.

The Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory board (equivalent to the National Endowment for the Arts in the US), has enlisted the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as host venue for a new international arts residency program.

When Caitlin McCleery enrolled at Rensselaer, she never expected she’d end up learning so much about smoke machines and LED lights. Since February, the junior biomedical engineering student has been working with the stage technologies team at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) and, as anyone who has been attending EMPAC shows this fall knows, stage fog and colored strobe lights have been a ubiquitous part of the fall season.

During her tenure as EMPAC Distinguished Artist in Residence, Laurie Anderson used her time in 2014 to develop a segment of the film that would become Heart of a Dog. The film is meditation on life and death, centered around her dog Lolabelle. It was just announced that Heart of a Dog has made the short list of 15 films that may receive a nomination for the Academy Award in the category of Best Documentary Feature.

Standing in the middle of the Studio 1 black box at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), Ute Besenecker says, “There’s no better space to do this work.” In four corners of the room, the Ph.D. architecture candidate and her small undergraduate research team have constructed isolated light environments consisting of curved screens, heavy black curtains, and a rig of different overhead lights.

Argeo Ascani has to be clear and concise. His position demands it. As Music Curator for Troy, New York’s Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (EMPAC), the way in which he experiences music must lean toward the efficient and the critical. He represents the model of the working listener: a person who must absorb music with a number of prescribed, often non-musical, considerations in mind.

Cruise over to the Rensselaer Union site to read this fun little primer on what incoming students should know about EMPAC. (No, EMPAC is not a weather machine...)

In a conversation with the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, EMPAC music curator Argeo Ascani discussed how the premise of "experimentation" at EMPAC eliminates the traditional idea of "risk" in arts programming by replacing it with an ongoing process of tiny successes and failures.

This fall finds a number of long-term residential projects premiering new work, including Ant Hampton’s interactive theater piece The Extra People and Mark Fell’s Recursive Frame Analysis, the musician and installation artist’s first foray into choreography.

In the summer of 2015, two Rensselaer students will be afforded unprecedented resources and support to undertake projects at the forefront of their academic fields. The Jaffe Student Production Competition is pleased to announce that PhD architecture candidate Ute C. Besenecker and PhD arts candidate Ryan Ross Smith have been selected as the inaugural winners of the competition, which was open to students of all schools and departments. Each will receive full funding and technical support for a summer residency at the Curtis R.

It’s 10 p.m. in Rotterdam, Netherlands, when Emily Zimmerman, associate curator of the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), Skypes artist Melvin Moti from a cluttered workspace in the Rensselaer Science Center. A team of undergraduate students eagerly assemble the components of their project on a workbench and Zimmerman turns the laptop so Moti can assess their progress. It’s mid-October and the group have only a few weeks left to iron out the bugs in The Vision Machine before it’s scheduled to be installed on the EMPAC mezzanine on December 4.