EMPAC Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center

Art Centre
Troy, NY

The Goodman Studio/Theater and Studio 2 are exceptionally versatile spaces for the integration of digital technology with human expression and perception (sometimes referred to as “multi-modal environments.”). Catwalks and control rooms are located above and outside the studios to allow for completely unencumbered space, and for the projection of lights and images virtually anywhere in the volume of the studios. Acoustic wall tiles offer a completely novel approach to the acoustics of immersive sound environments. Both studios are equally quiet and highly networked, rewarding audiences and supporting experimentation by artists and researchers alike.

Technology & Material
Areas of Specialization

The same venues and tools that make EMPAC a leading- edge performance space also make it an exceptional laboratory for research at the interface between digital technology and human experience. Recent areas of inquiry include advanced visualization, acoustics, sensor design, lighting design, haptics, social interaction, and immersive environments, among others.


With the center’s spacious studios—optimized for human perception and interaction—along with its complex media and networking infrastructure, researchers across Rensselaer’s five schools have a powerful tool in the quest to better understand human sensory experience, communication, and interaction with computing systems.


EMPAC is also home to the Cognitive and Immersive Systems Laboratory (CISL), a joint research venture with Rensselaer and IBM. With projected applications in the fields of medicine, business, cyber-security, and education, CISL is developing prototypes for the next generation of human-computer interfaces, with the goal of creating a cognitive and immersive “situations room” that will help solve complex global challenges.


We support research by Rensselaer faculty which makes use of the specific resources we offer. Are you a faculty member interested in learning how EMPAC may be used in your research or do you plan to include the use of the building and resources in grant applications? If so, get in touch.


We also host research projects from outside Rensselaer, which bring their own expertise and funding to use our resources. If you have a research idea or project to pitch, contact us.