Dancing on the Ceiling: Art & Zero Gravity at EMPAC

Dancing on the Ceiling: Art & Zero Gravity at EMPAC

EMPAC—Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center

Denis Darzacq
La Chute 16, 2006
C-print, Framed
85 x 105 cm, ed. 5/8
Courtesy the artist and De Soto Gallery

March 1, 2010
Dancing on the Ceiling: Art & Zero Gravity at EMPAC

Dancing on the Ceiling:
Art & Zero Gravity

March 18 – April 10, 2010

EMPAC @ Rensselaer
110 8th Street
Troy, NY 12180


Dancing on the Ceiling: Art & Zero Gravity
opens Thursday, March 18 at 6 PM
Arts Catalyst, Benjamin Bergmann, Denis Darzacq, Edith Dekyndt, Chris Doyle, Thom Kubli, William Forsythe, Julia Fullerton-Batten, Tomas Saraceno, Jane & Louise Wilson, Xu Zhen

Dancing on the Ceiling: Art & Zero Gravity is a group exhibition in which contemporary artists explore – and on occasion recreate – the condition of weightlessness on earth. The exhibition presents the work of multiple national and international artists, including three newly commissioned pieces. Distributed throughout the public spaces at EMPAC, the exhibition is itself un-tethered from the confines of the traditional gallery exhibition paradigm.

Dancing on the Ceiling brings together artworks that use the metaphor of floating or weightlessness as an expression of the relationship of the individual to social, political or personal contexts. In addition, several of the pieces relate to lightness as akin to an agility of mind, freed of entrenched perspectives.

The artworks in the exhibition deploy helium, parabolic flight, rigging, and digital effects. They feature floating performers, an upside-down kitchen, an isolation tank and skateboarders freed from physical laws. They evoke the golden age of space exploration and the dreams of the counter-culture. Dancing on the Ceiling is a provocative convergence of time-based photography, sculpture, installation, and video.

Curated by Kathleen Forde, Curator of Time-Based Arts, the exhibition will be accompanied by an exhibition catalog including essays by Italo Calvino, as well as interviews with commissioned artists Chris Doyle and Thom Kubli.

Associated Events

Exhibition opening: March 18, 6 – 10 PM

6 PM: Reception with commissioned artists – visitors to the opening reception receive a free exhibition catalog! (while supplies last)

7 PM: Talk by special effects legend Douglas Trumbull (2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters, Star Trek, Blade Runner), followed by a screening of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece of science fiction cinema, 2001: A Space Odyssey on EMPAC’s massive 56′ concert hall screen

March 25, 6 PM
Inhabiting Other Worlds: Microgravity, Perception, Physiology and Design

A panel organized by Rensselaer School of Architecture that marks the opening of a student exhibition of proposed models for a medical station in a NASA lunar module.

April 8, 6:30 PM
Tour with exhibition curator Kathleen Forde

April 8, 7:30 PM
Unfiction: Man on Wire

An Academy Award-winning documentary about Phillipe Petit’s daring and defiant tightrope walk between the Twin Towers.

This exhibition is free and open to the public from noon to 6 PM, Monday – Saturday (closed Sundays). Call the EMPAC Box office at 518.276.3921 or visit the EMPAC website at http://empac.rpi.edu for more information.


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.

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EMPAC—Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center
March 1, 2010

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