The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center

The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute | Troy, NY
Master Electrician / Lighting Supervisor
January 2013 - September 2016

EMPAC Website

Mouse on Mars

Jan St. Werner - Artist
Andi Toma - Artist

Birger Luedemann - Company Manager
Argeo Ascani - EMPAC Curator, Music
Ian Hamelin - Project Coordinator
Daniel Swalec - Lighting Design / Lighting Director

March 3, 2015 | EMPAC Theatre Stage


For the past 21 years, Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma have been making electronic music that defies genre labels and classification, mixing IDM with krautrock, disco, pop, ambient, and avant-garde styles. Their music has been reinterpreted by orchestras and remixed by DJs, performed in concert halls and shown in museums. Characteristically, their recent 21 Again anniversary record featured collaborators as diverse as Tortoise, Prefuse 73, Modeselektor, Junior Boys, and members of Stereolab, the Boredoms, and Battles. Fusing theory, sound research, and deep, sensual experience, the duo has forged an identity around process and agility rather than any set sound profile.

text and logo from EMPAC website | photo by Daniel A. Swalec


Technical Project Notes:

For their performance at EMPAC, Mouse on Mars advanced what they referenced as a ‘typical lighting plot’ that included two ‘washlights’, two 4light blinders, two atomic strobes and a smoke machine.  After discussions with our music curator, I decided to use four ROBE ColorWash fixtures along the back edge of the elevated stage.  Four Martin Atomic 3000 strobes with Atomic Color scrollers attached sat along the back wall of the space, and since EMPAC does not have any blinders in inventory, I opted for twelve 1000w mini-ten floodlights in a linear array behind the stage.  In addition to the artists music that was felt by the audience thanks to the massive sound system, they also sent video content through a 40,000 lumen projector pointed at a 10ft x 30ft projection screen.

photo by Daniel A. Swalec

While cueing on an ETC EOS lighting console, I relied on recorded cues as base elements and manually operated faders and buttons to cause the bumps and intensities, I landed on an extremely interesting element to include in the live performance.  The contrast between incandescent blinders (or in this casse, floodlights) and xenon strobe lights was incredible in the darkened room.  Hits of color from both the ROBE ColorWash fixtures and the scrollers on the atomics at times were amazing additions to the video elements, although some of the most interesting moments were the contrast between xenon and tungsten.

More projects from EMPAC

Ben Frost’s music is not just heard; it’s felt
Already among the most well-known musicians of their generations, Mariel Roberts (cello) and Nate Wooley (trumpet) have quickly developed international reputations for their dedication to the advancement of music.
On the final evening of Cally Spooner’s EMPAC production residency, in which she will be shooting her new film work And You Were Wonderful, On Stage in Studio 1, the artist invites you to be part of a live studio audience
Returning to EMPAC after his 2013 multi-venue installation and performance, British artist Mark Fell presents Recursive Frame Analysis , a new work for light, sound, and human movement.
Almost every object struck, plucked, or blown in Memory Palace, a 22-minute work for amplified percussion and electronics, has to be made by the percussionist.
The Mivos Quartet, one of the most sought-after string quartets in the international new music scene, will be in residence at EMPAC to develop and perform a new work by American composer Eric Wubbels.

Thoughts, Ideas, or Suggestions?