EMPAC at RPI Announces New Season of Concerts, Theater & Other Events

The folks at EMPAC at RPI have announced the schedule of events for the winter/spring 2018 season, including concerts, theater, dance, talks and films.

As always at EMPAC, you should expect the unexpected.

Here’s the schedule of upcoming EMPAC events:

PERFORMANCE: “Afrogalactica”
Tuesday, January 16, 7pm
$18; students & seniors $13
“Afrogalactica” is a film-performance by Canadian artist Kapwani Kiwanga. Featuring live reading and video projection, the performance casts Kiwanga as a fictional anthropologist who synthesizes fragments of poetry, mythology, pop culture, science and scholarly discourse to challenge historical narratives regarding colonial struggle and the African diaspora.

THEATER: “Inheritance”: Work-in-Progress
Tuesday, January 23, 7pm
Ephraim Asili is in residence at EMPAC with a group of performers to develop the script for his feature-length film “Inheritance.” The artist-filmmaker’s first foray into working with an ensemble cast, this evening will feature a live three-act performance, including scenes from the film and a reading by Philadelphia poet, activist and scholar Sonia Sanchez.

TALK: “Pornography’s Graphical Interface”
Wednesday, February 7, 7pm
University of Toronto researcher Patrick Keilty gives a talk on the impact that design and information systems in the pornography industry have on contemporary experiences and understandings of desire and sexuality.

THEATER: “They Are Waiting for You”
Friday, February 16, 8pm
$18; students & seniors $13
Turner Prize-winning visual artist Laure Prouvost presents the premiere of “They Are Waiting for You,” her first major stage performance, in collaboration with Sam Belinfante and Pierre Droulers. In this new performance, theatrical and cinematic technologies — projection, light and haze — interact with performers, musicians, objects and the audience in a surreal and perceptually disorientating theatrical production.

DANCE: “echo/archive”
Friday, March 2, 8pm
$18; students & seniors $13
The world premiere of “echo/archive,” choreographer Elena Demyanenko and filmmaker Erika Mijlin’s EMPAC-commissioned collaboration. Developed over the past year in residence in Studio 1, “echo/archive” brings dance, film and light together in a three-part live performance featuring performers Dana Reitz, Eva Karczag and Jodi Melnick.

MUSIC: Ellen Arkbro
Thursday, March 8, 7:30pm
$18; students & seniors $13
Stockholm-based composer Ellen Arkbro performs a new work for electric guitar and algorithmic synthesis. She is a musical alchemist whose work oscillates between the pop music of the ’90s and the American minimalism of the ’60s, while exploring microtonal realms that blur the standard tunings and harmonies of Western music.

THEATER: “This Was the End”
Monday, March 19, 7:30pm
“This Was the End” is a work-in-progress multimedia performance inspired by Russian playwright Anton Chekov’s “Uncle Vanya.” In the play, Vanya asks, “What if I live to be 60?” “This Was the End” answers that question through a story told by four sixty-something actors. Director Mallory Catlett is in residence at EMPAC with sound designer G. Lucas Crane and video designer Keith Skretch to develop their theatrical production into a multimedia installation about memory and time. ALSO: “This Was the End: Installation” from 1-5pm on Tuesday, March 20. FREE.

MUSIC: “Anonymous Man”
Thursday, March 22, 7:30pm
$18; students & seniors $13
Composer and Bang on a Can founder Michael Gordon presents his new choral work, “Anonymous Man,” performed by the 24-voice ensemble The Crossing. The hour-long piece expands on Gordon’s architectural approach to composition, layering minimalistic swirls of vocal sounds on top of one another to create a hypnotic group incantation.

FILM/VIDEO: Other Uses No. 5
Monday, March 26, 7pm
The fifth screening in the Other Uses film series features the work of Ulysses Jenkins, whose videos examine television’s power to shape current events and historical episodes.

DANCE: “A Meditation on Tongues”
Thursday, April 5, 7pm
$18; students & seniors $13
“A Meditation on Tongues” is artist Ni’Ja Whitson’s dance adaptation of filmmaker and activist Marlon T. Riggs’ 1989 film “Tongues Untied,” a groundbreaking portrait of black, gay identity. Staged throughout the EMPAC building, the performance begins with a solo by vogue dancer Slim Ninja, then struts down a runway to lead the audience into the Theater.

Wednesday, April 11, 7pm
An open conversation on the subject of art, jump-started by EMPAC Director Johannes Goebel. Why is there art? Why should anyone care? Isn’t everything art and everyone an artist? What is the place of art in this society and at RPI? What is EMPAC’s place in all this?

FILM: Other Uses No. 6
Thursday, April 26, 7pm
In the final screening in the year-long film series, three films chronicle the afterlives of sites that time has suspended, abandoned or reclaimed. Beatriz Santiago Muñoz captures the convergence of plants, animals, and the local Puerto Rican population in “Ojos para mis Enemigos (Eyes for My Enemies)” as they covertly share a decommissioned US military base in Ceiba. Jorge Jácome’s “Flores” transforms the autonomous Portuguese Azores Islands into a landscape rendered uninhabitable by the proliferation of hydrangeas, and a man is stranded at a disused Olympic airport in Naeem Mohaiemen’s first fiction feature, “Tripoli Cancelled.”

MUSIC: “darker”
Friday, April 27, 7:30pm
$18; students & seniors $13
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and Bang on A Can co-founder David Lang brings his pensive evening-length piece to life at EMPAC, as performed by Ensemble Signal. Scored for 12 strings, “darker” is a slow exploration of sound. At times, it gives the ensemble the feel of a giant pipe organ or, with the aid of visual artist Suzanne Bocanegra’s live projections, the feel of splattering rain on an immoveable wall.

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