two screens with projections of colleges of various items, including an alarm clock and the face of a young boy in a subterranean room.

James Richards

In Conversation
Thursday, April 4, 2019 at 6PM

Artist James Richards presents a sound installation and video works as part of a free event initializing his new EMPAC commission scheduled to premiere here in Spring 2020. Curator Vic Brooks will lead a conversation with Richards exploring his past works and approach to working in different curatorial contexts. The evening will include Migratory Motor Complex, a multichannel sound work exhibited at the 2017 Venice Biennale.

Richards’ new commission takes as its starting point an essay that accompanied his exhibition Music for the Gift for the Welsh Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale. Produced in collaboration with Chris McCormack, the text moves back and forth between the first and third person and the experiential and the scientific, shifting registers to evoke the experience of the voice breaking during adolescence. Richards’ approaches the development of his artworks with a period of research and experimentation in order to grapple with material languages of image and sound production. At EMPAC, he will start by working with theatrical lighting in order to explore its affective, environmental, and performative potential in practice. 

James Richards’ artworks reveal connections between people, practices, and private, hidden, or suppressed histories through archival and online research. Working with a vast array of media materials, often generated during long-term exchanges with other artists, such as American media artist Steve Reinke and filmmaker Leslie Thornton, Richards produces sound and video installations that invite the audience into an intimate encounter with private worlds and queer communities. 


  • I am (for the birds) text by Ian white.
  • Live reading
  • Migratory Motor Complex (2017)
  • Six-channel audio
  • Rosebud (2013)
  • Digital video
  • Not blacking out, Just turning the lights off (2011)
  • Digital video
  • Radio at night (2015)
  • Digital video
  • All works courtesy the artist

Main Image: James Richards, Installation view of Phrasing (2018). Courtesy the artist.

Dates + Tickets

Time-Based Visual Art
James Richards
In Conversation
Thursday 4
6:00 PM
April 2019



EMPAC Spring 2019 presentations, residencies, and commissions are made possible by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with continuous support from the New York State Council for the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts; and the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts. Additional project support by the National Endowment for the Arts; the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.