Friday December 7, 2012

TROY, N.Y. -- The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute announces Primal Matter, a free dance-theater performance by Greek artist Dimitris Papaioannou. The event will take place in Studio 2 on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 8 p.m.

As Greece experiences a severe economic and social crisis, and Europe and the United States undergo detrimental shrinking of national arts funding, Dimitris Papaioannou embarks on an artistic and personal challenge: a project using the least possible means--an experiment investigating personal and national identity.

Primal Matter is an optical illusion created by two isolated bodies on stage, which are used as the starting point in this exploratory journey of balancing our physical existence (body) with our second nature (soul), at a time when the issue of paramount concern is, ultimately, what is indispensable--what constitutes the essence.

Primal Matter was originally commissioned by the Athens Festival, Greece, and was further developed during an EMPAC artist-in-residence program.

Dimitris Papaioannou's groundbreaking creative direction of the Athens 2004 opening ceremony-- hailed a "triumph" by Time Magazine and The Times of London--is widely considered a high-water mark of large-scale spectacle.


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Born in Athens, Greece, in 1964, Papaioannou is co-founder of the award-winning Edafos Dance Theatre (1986-2002), where he conceived, directed, and choreographed all of the company's productions. In 2005, he was awarded the Golden Cross of the Order of Honour for outstanding artistic achievement by the president of the Hellenic Republic.

Papaioannou spent spring 2010 as a Fulbright scholar, mentored by Laurie Anderson at The Kitchen in New York City.

This event is free and open to the public. Seating is extremely limited.

Evelyn's Café will open at 7 p.m. with a full menu of meals, snacks, and beverages as well as a selection of wines. Service continues after the performance. Parking is available in the Rensselaer parking lot on College Avenue.

More information can be found on the EMPAC website: empac.rpi.edu. Questions? Call the EMPAC Box Office: 518-276-3921.

The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), founded by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is an international hub for art, performance, science, and technology -- offering adventurous interdisciplinary public events, support for artists and scholars engaged in creative research, and the resources of a state-of-the art facility for digital media production, research, and performance situated on a college campus.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is the nation's oldest technological university. The school offers degrees in engineering, the sciences, information technology, architecture, management, and the social sciences and humanities. For over 30 years, the Institute has been a leader in interdisciplinary creative research, especially in the electronic arts. In addition to its MFA and PhD programs in electronic arts, Rensselaer offers bachelor degrees in electronic arts, and in electronic media, arts, and communication -- one of the first undergraduate programs of its kind in the United States. The Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies and EMPAC are two major research platforms that Rensselaer established at the beginning of the 21st century.

EMPAC 2012-2013 presentations, residencies, and commissions are made possible by continuous support from the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts. Additional project support by 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 and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the New York State Council for the Arts; Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts; Arts Council Norway, Fond for Lyd og Bilde, and Fond for Utøvende Kunstner.