TROY, N.Y. — It’s a little off the New York City radar, but one of the country’s most invigorating hubs for performance and what’s fashionably called “time-based” visual art has been operating here for a decade now.
mission of the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center — known as Empac — at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is more scholarly than ticket-sale-oriented. But when it puts on a public-facing show, it knows what it can do. On Saturday, as part of its 10th-anniversary celebration, Empac wrapped up a three-day series of performances with a demonstration of its unusual capabilities, namely the high-tech “dome” of speakers that surrounds listeners in its main concert hall.
Olga Neuwirth’s 2008 “Lost Highway Suite” has its roots in her 2003 opera, based on the psycho-noir David Lynch film. The integration of electronic and acoustic sounds has always been a part of her approach to the film. (Ms. Neuwirth
categorizes her “Lost Highway” as “a video-opera.”) The instrumental suite, lasting approximately 40 minutes, requires live electronic processing of six soloists, drawn from a larger chamber ensemble, here the International Contemporary Ensemble.