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18 Mar 2010

OpenEnded Group's 'Upending' to premiere March 25 at EMPAC

Still from Upending courtesy of The OpenEnded Group



World premiere: Thursday, March 25, 7 PM For more information, call EMPAC at 518.276.3921 or visit our website at

Jason Steven Murphy

EMPAC @ Rensselaer
110 8th Street
Troy, NY 12180

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TThe OpenEnded Group: Upending
with music by Morton Feldman, recorded at EMPAC by the FLUX Quartet
Followed by The Making of Upending with The OpenEnded Group

March 25+26, 2010, 7 PM (Matinee: March 27, 2 PM)

An evening-length work commissioned by EMPAC that combines breathtaking 3D experimental animation with a new recording of Morton Feldman’s first String Quartet
On Thursday, March 25 and Friday, March 26 at 7 PM (with a matinee at 2 PM on Saturday, March 27), the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York will present the world premiere of Upending, a work created by the innovative digital arts collective The OpenEnded Group commissioned by EMPAC and created in residence over a period of over two years.    
Upending is a revelatory stereoscopic theater performance: an animated, actor-less drama of disorientation and reorientation that compels viewers to rethink their relationship with the material world. Using ordinary flat photographs and stereoscopic HD video as the basis for a battery of non-photorealistic rendering technique, Upending transfigures familiar objects, spaces, and persons in ways that are both beautiful and uncanny. The play of images is accompanied by a gutsy new EMPAC-produced recording of Morton Feldman's first String Quartet by the FLUX Quartet that places the listener, literally, in the center of the ensemble, with every sonic gesture articulated across space simultaneously.  Through this aural lens, the video becomes almost balletic, even as the visuals allow the audience to hear Feldman as never before.
Following a post-performance break for refreshments, each evening will conclude with The Making of Upending, a talk and q&a covering the two year process of the work from inception to premiere.   
The OpenEnded Group
is three digital artists – Marc Downie, Shelley Eshkar, and Paul Kaiser – who create works for stage, screen, gallery, page, and public space. These include the collaborations BIPED with Merce Cunningham and Ghostcatching with Bill T. Jones; Pedestrian; Loops, which self-regenerates by means of artificial intelligence; and Enlightenment, a piece that autonomously reconstructs an extraordinarily complex fugal passage in late Mozart. In 2008, it released Field, an open-source authoring system that promises to revolutionize digital art-making.

"One of the most fearless and important new-music ensembles around,” (San Francisco Chronicle) and "legendary for its furiously committed, untiring performances." (The New Yorker, Alex Ross) The FLUX Quartet has performed to rave reviews at such music centers as Da Camera of Houston, Miller Theater, the Walker Art Center, the Library of Congress, and Carnegie Hall.

Curated by Micah Silver, Upending was commissioned by EMPAC and developed in residence over a two-year period utilizing EMPAC’s unique facility, technology and staffing.  The commission was made possible by support from the Jaffe Fund For Experimental Media And Performing Arts.  

For more information on this event, please call the EMPAC Box office at 518.276.3921 or visit the EMPAC website at


The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) opened its doors in 2008 and was hailed by the New York Times as a “technological pleasure dome for the mind and senses… dedicated to the marriage of art and science as it has never been done before.”

Founded by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, EMPAC offers artists, scholars, researchers, engineers, designers, and audiences opportunities for creative exploration that are available nowhere else under a single roof. EMPAC operates nationally and internationally, attracting creative individuals from around the world and sending new artworks and innovative ideas onto the global stage.

EMPAC’s building is a showcase work of architecture and a unique technological facility that boasts unrivaled presentation and production capabilities for art and science spanning the physical and virtual worlds and the spaces in between.

EMPAC 2009-2010 presentations, residencies and commissions are supported by grants from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts’ Regional Touring Program, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts (with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; additional funding provided by the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation) and the New York State Council for the Arts. Special thanks to the The Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts for support for artist commissions.