5 Things Students Should Know About EMPAC

1. No, EMPAC is not a weather machine.

Frankly, no one’s sure how that rumor got started. EMPAC is the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, a high-tech facility dedicated to exploring the space where the digital world meets our human senses. Think of it like a huge Oculus Rift you can walk around inside. The building is the hardware (four main venues, complete with advanced audiovisual technology and powerful data connectivity that can be customized for every project) and the programming is the software. It doesn’t matter if an artist or scientist is using the space; EMPAC is meant to be a collaborative toolbox for both.


2. EMPAC is for everybody.

Every semester, a team of curators and production staff put together a season of events—concerts, film screenings, workshops, dance and theater productions, talks—that explore EMPAC’s many uses. These events are open to all students, regardless of your major, and events at EMPAC are always $6 per student ticket. This fall, most events are scheduled Wednesday through Friday, so you can check out a show midweek and still have the weekend for other RPI activities and events.


3. EMPAC events are weird…and that’s what makes them awesome!

The events that get produced at EMPAC literally can’t be made anywhere else. Don’t go to a show expecting it to be like anything you’ve seen before. EMPAC shows encourage the audience to explore the boundaries of our perception, challenge our preconceived notions about the way things work, and urge us to think in new ways. If you enter with an open mind, you’ll leave with broader perspective.


4. EMPAC is hands-on.

There are many ways for students to get involved with EMPAC beyond simply attending events. EMPAC is  one of the biggest employers on campus and there are all kinds of work opportunities, from the box office to the production and administration teams. If you’re interested in learning to make electronic music and art, PULSE (People Using Live Software and Electronics) is an extracurricular group that meets weekly. There are many research opportunities at EMPAC, usually in collaboration with faculty in particular schools and departments.  And beyond the EMPAC-curated season of events, the spaces are used continuously by other campus departments and organizations for lectures, screenings, conferences, and celebrations.


5. EMPAC is delicious.

Evelyn’s Café is located on EMPAC’s fifth floor, with a patio built into the hillside. It’s a great place to grab lunch, sip coffee, or sit and get some work done on your laptop. Every Wednesday, the student-run Terra Café serves a special local lunch that is not to be missed.


5 Fall season highlights:

-Aug. 26: MashUp! is an NRB week party for-students, by-students, hosted by the PULSE group.

-Sept. 2: A free screening of the sci-fi classic Tron kicks off the film series On Screen/Sound.

-Sept. 10: The Extra People is a live theater piece in which the audience wears earbuds that give them instructions to how to participate with the performers.

-Oct. 2: The season’s biggest dance party will feature DJs vhvl, Daedelus, and Ikonika.

-Oct. 16: Electronic music superstar Oneohtrix Point Never will premiere a new multimedia stage show.


Many thanks go out to EMPAC for providing Rensselaer Union with the content above. If you are interested in learning more about EMPAC or attending events, please visit the EMPAC website.