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.

"The scale of EMPAC itself is so remarkably detailed and carefully engineered as to be essentially unparalleled outside of Asia. A perfect juxtaposition of art and science..." Read the full feature story in I Care If You Listen.


There is no better way to understand the acoustic soul of a building than to spend thousands of hours within its walls, often alone in silence, observing and thinking alongside those who work and create there.

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 a place you might expect to find in Tokyo, or Stockholm, or New York City. Instead it’s here in the Capital Region, in Troy. . . ."
Read the full story at Capital Region Living.

Read Joan Jonas' interview with Rosa Barba, whose site-specific commission The Color Out of Space was shown at EMPAC every Saturday in March.

Read the full article profiling EMPAC and reviewing the US premiere of Enno Poppe's Speicher, performed in the Concert Hall by Talea Ensemble on March 13.

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.

Six years after its debut at the opening festival for the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), one of EMPAC’s first commissioned works, There is Still Time . . Brother, will be presented this fall at the Chronus Art Center in Shanghai, China.