Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center



The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute | Troy, NY


EMPAC is where the arts, sciences, and technology interact with and influence each other by using the same facilities, technologies, and by breathing the same air. Situated on the campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, EMPAC is dedicated to building bridges between our human senses, to modes of perception and experience, to creating meaning in a physical environment, and to the intangible world of digital technology.

Four discrete venues are designed with unique technical infrastructure to enable you, our audience, to see, hear, and move in space in endlessly different ways. We host artists and researchers to create new work and present events which ask you to join the quest for new perspectives.

text and logo from the EMPAC website
photo © Daniel A. Swalec 2012


January 2013 - present

As the Master Electrician and Lighting Supervisor, I was a member of the "stage technologies" team, and served as the point person and lead technician responsible for coordinating lighting for various artist residencies, campus programs and community events in EMPAC's four venues.  Managing the lighting systems and hundreds of lighting fixtures throughout the building, I was fortunate enough to manage a unique system re-designed to allow maximum flexibility throughout a facility that continuously re-defines itself.  The four discrete venues share an inventory of ETC EOS and ION lighting consoles, with networked remote processing units serving as backup control systems.  The venues network infrastructure allows for flexibility to control any of the facility's 1400 ETC Sensor sine wave dimmers from any console in any part of the facility.  Adding flexibility to place control consoles in control booths, on stage, in the venue itself, even in the facility's video or audio control rooms based on the needs of each individual project

I was also tasked with assisting artists prior to their arrival in choosing which fixtures in our inventory will best suit their needs as well as determining how to best make use of EMPAC's unique lighting infrastructure to best suit the needs of a specific project, artists, and collaborators.  At times, I also was responsible for designing campus events and some curated performances while being receptive to the needs and specifics of visiting artists and/or groups. I relied heavily on design and aesthetic integrity to further EMPAC's mission and help to revitalize events within the building.


EMPAC Projects


Mark Fell Recursive Frame Analysis

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...

Cally Spooner | And You Were Wonderful...

A performance with multiple actors, dancers, and stage sets that attempts to integrate the process of filming into the production itself...

Mivos Quartet | Being Time

The Mivos Quartet, one of the most sought-after string quartets in the international new music scene, will be in residence at EMPAC to...

Mariel Roberts | Nate Wooley

Already among the most well-known musicians of their generations, Mariel Roberts (cello) and Nate Wooley (trumpet) have...

Ben Frost

Ben Frost’s music is not just heard; it’s felt. Influenced by classical minimalism as well as punk rock and metal, he creates monolithic sounds...

Mark Fell

Mark Fell is a multidisciplinary artist based in Sheffield (UK). He is widely known for combining popular music styles such as electronica...

EMPAC | Season Video Gallery