Two camera operators shooting two dancers wearing silver unitards standing in a sea of theatrical fog.


Charles Atlas, Rashaun Mitchell, and Silas Riener

Tesseract, by artist Charles Atlas and choreographers Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener, was presented for the first time over two nights following several years of development at EMPAC.

The show commenced with the world premiere of the stereoscopic 3D video Tesseract ▢. A six-chapter work of science fiction, it was Atlas’ first “dance video” in over a decade. Filmed with a mobile camera rig that moves with the choreography, Tesseract ▢ traverses a series of hybrid and imagined worlds staged and filmed over a series of EMPAC production residencies. Each chapter combines a specific set, choreography, and camera motion to encompass pas de deux and ensemble pieces, choreographed and performed by former Merce Cunningham dancers Mitchell and Riener. Manipulating the 3D footage to combine live dance with animation, Atlas’ distinctive video effects reach into otherworldly dimensions beyond the stage.

For the second part of the show, Tesseract ◯ expands the view from film frame to proscenium stage. A performance for six dancers and multiple mobile cameras—the footage of which Atlas manipulated in real-time and projected back onto the stage—Tesseract ◯ superimposes the space of dance with live cinematic production, rendering a choreographic analogue to the four-dimensional cube from which the piece takes its title.

Visual Art

January 27, 2017

Production Credits

Tesseract is a production in two parts: Tesseract • is a 3D film presented prior to the live performance Tesseract •. Tesseract • is also presented as an installation, which had its exhibition premiere at Triangle France in Marseille from April 12–June 23, 2017. 

Tesseract by Charles Atlas / Rashaun Mitchell / Silas Riener was co-commissioned by EMPAC/ Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and On the Boards. 

Tesseract by Charles Atlas / Rashaun Mitchell / Silas Riener was commissioned by EMPAC and Triangle France. 

Tesseract was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Tesseract was developed, in part, through residencies at EMPAC, The Watermill Center, and the Walker Art Center. 

Tesseract score composed by Fennesz.

Tesseract ◯ score composed by Mas Ysa.