“Color Out of Space” brought to earth on EMPAC

IMAGES OF THE MOON AND STARS PROJECT onto the 8th Street façade of EMPAC the next four Saturdays at 8 pm.

For the next three weeks, the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center will have its Downtown Troy-facing exterior lit up by images of the moon, stars, and galaxies. At 8 pm on Saturday, the two-part EMPAC commissioned piece, “The Color Out of Space,” by Rosa Barba debuted its first of four showings. The first part of the exposition features a 35-minute film projected onto EMPAC’s 8th Street façade and is paired with a live stream of a collage featuring world astronomers and artists. The second part of the collaboration is the White Museum, an installation of a 70 mm film projector powered by a 5,000 watt bulb which is shot out of the dome of the Hirsch Observatory on the roof of the Jonsson-Rowland Science Center.

In order to find the main event of the piece, you need to find a way down to the bottom of EMPAC. Once there, be sure to cross the street and turn to look at the front of the building in order to find the large-scale projection. This past Saturday, although the weather was chilly, a good number of people turned out for the debut. In order to fully experience the artwork, you’ll need to open the live stream of the audio. The audio was very soothing and thought provoking, speaking of space and how you can visualize it. A line that stood out to me from the show was one that anyone who has taken a basic chemistry or physics class will know, “Matter did not rise out of nothingness and shall not return to it.” The astronomers delve into the idea of the infinite of space and its implications on our viewing the stars. This more philosophical narrative was coupled with the projection of telescopic images of our moon, surrounding stars, and nearby galaxies in stunningly beautiful detail. The images were haunting in appearance and very compelling.

In addition to the projection, the Hirsch Observatory had an older projector that beamed white light back into the sky. The idea is that instead of the usual light being projected form the sky to us, we are projecting light into the sky, like a star. These two parts made up the full installation and made for an interesting night on the west side of campus. Overall, the haunting projection and the light-hearted “White Museum” were well-done, beautiful, and thought provoking. I would highly recommend attending one of the next three showings, with the observatory opening at 7:30 pm on Saturday and the projection beginning at 8 pm.