EMPAC AiR

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Location: Troy, New York

Mission: 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.

The scope and intent of residencies may vary. They can either be short-term or part of a longer-term development process. A residency may be used to develop a part of a project, to explore a concept, to research artistic and technical feasibility of a certain idea, to develop computer programs or specific hardware, to bring an audiovisual work through post-production, to rehearse, or to test a work at full production scale.

EMPAC’s curators, in collaboration with its director, develop programs, commissions, and residencies internally. Proposals are reviewed and discussed jointly by the curatorial panel on an ongoing basis. We recommend applicants apply at least six months before their desired residency timeframe.

Our mission is to foster the development of new technologies for project needs, leverage recent scientific and engineering research directions within the scope of the creative process, and optimally use our complex infrastructure and resources. While there will be work produced that does not utilize “high-tech tools,” we especially encourage projects that take advantage of our unique capacities and infrastructure.

Cost: Each project will have its own specific model for the financial structure necessary to support the residencies, research, or production. We may provide accommodation for artists, and a budget may be available for stipends and to support residencies. We may also collaborate with artists, co-producers, commissioners, presenters, grant agencies, and foundations to secure funding. Applicants are encouraged to apply for outside grants or attempt to secure their own funds.

Application Fee: Cost of postage

Number of Artists: n/a

Accommodations: Based on availability, we may support residencies with stipends and accommodations in our artist residency housing, a separate building near campus with four full apartments. Artists with alternate sources of funding or a commission from another institution may wish to develop their project during a residency. The joint development of the financial plan for a residency is part of the review process. (see Benefits).

Length of Stay: Short-Term and Long-Term (project depending)

Demographic/Medium: Any artist working in experimental media and performing arts is eligible to apply. We welcome great diversity in our applicants’ nationality, age, and discipline.

Applications are open to individuals or interdisciplinary teams. An artist or team may only apply once per year. An artist may apply with different collaborators on a different project more than once per year.

We do not accept residency applications from full-time students. In addition, faculty, staff, and students of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are not eligible to apply for this residency.

Benefits: All four of our venues are designed to be extraordinarily quiet (a maximum noise floor of 15dB) and are structurally decoupled from each other. The spaces have reverberation times ranging from 2.8 seconds in the Concert Hall to 0.5 in Studio 1. Both studios and the Concert Hall have adjustable, acoustically absorptive banners to tune the reverberation time.

Each venue has its own control and machine room. There is a dedicated audio and video network throughout the building. All venues can be connected to a centralized audio and video production suite, each other, and many other locations within the building. The audio matrix (LAWO) can accommodate more than 5000×5000 channels. The video matrix (Harris) handles up to 162 inputs x 190 outputs video channels of raw video stream. Use of the larger venues can either be part of a residency that spans inception to completion or can be for a residency needing the venue for the whole duration. This will be considered when discussing the residency. We intend to make the larger venues dedicated to a specific phase of a project equally available 24/7.

Concert Hall—1,165 fixed seats (some removable seating) and 108 loose seats; a 50’x30’ projection screen with digital cinema projector (Stereoscopic 30K lumen, 2048×1080); and 60 chain hoist positions in the ceiling for hanging trusses, screens, etc. The theatrical lighting package includes 373 sine wave dimmers, followspot booth, multichannel audio and video infrastructure, and adjustable acoustical banners.

Theater—400 fixed seats; 40’x80’ stage; resilient flooring; 60’ flytower; and computer controlled rigging: 18 movable line sets, eight spotline winches, and an orchestra pit. The theatrical lighting package includes 468 sine wave dimmers, a digital cinema projector (Stereoscopic 30k lumen, 2048×1080), 50’x30’ projection screen, and multichannel audio and video infrastructure.

Studio 1 –Goodman—No permanent seating or staging; 66’x51’ floor area; resilient flooring; walkable grid at 32.9’; eight spotline winches with additional chain hoists possible; 192 sine wave dimmers; multichannel audio and video infrastructure; computer controlled rigging with performer flying capability; and adjustable acoustical banners.

Studio 2—No permanent seating or staging; 44’x55’ floor area; resilient flooring; walkable grid at 18’; 12 chain hoists; 192 sine wave dimmers; multichannel audio and video infrastructure; and adjustable acoustical banners.

Audio and Video Production Rooms—While the audio and video systems each run on a matrix-based fiber-optic network, there is both an audio and video production room that is ideal for all manner of production, post-production, and even broadcast. If you need more detailed information on our audio or video systems to propose your project, please contact us.

Residency Studios—We have three dedicated, isolated spaces for a particular artist, researcher, or group while in residence. These are ideal as a study, office, workspace, or for contained work using computers for audio or video. They may be used for developing work, programming, editing, thinking —basically a project studio. Each studio’s infrastructure is specifically configured to each residency and has an equipment closet to house loud electronics. There are shared kitchen facilities for the residency studios. Studio sizes range from 225–350 ft2 (67–106 m2).

We have high-end audio and video equipment available, including HD video cameras, projectors, an array of small and large projectors and screens, an extensive collection of microphones, a large pool of loudspeakers, and many other pieces of production equipment. In addition, there are two digital projection 2K projectors with 30,000 ANSI lumens, and a Sony 4K projector with 10,000 ANSI lumens available.

We have both woodshop and welding capacities on the premises, as well as other possibilities for fabrication; however we do not have a large, permanent scene shop or fabrication space. Spanning all venues, we have an extensive lighting inventory. Additionally, we have two upright and four grand pianos, each with different characters (Fazioli, Bosendorfer, Hamburg Steinway, and Yamaha Disklavier Pro.)

We have a full staff of experts to support projects: audio and video engineers, lighting specialists, rigger/carpenter, curatorial team, information technology specialists, and research engineers. We encourage applicants to bring their own teams of experts in addition to utilizing our staff in support of their work.

When feasible and desired, EMPAC, as part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, can connect artists with faculty, staff, and students who may be interested in the project. Similarly, if community involvement is integral to the artist’s project, we can work to create an appropriate situation.

Deadline: Ongoing

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