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EMPAC artist wins MacArthur Fellowship

EMPAC artist wins MacArthur Fellowship

Tsang's work shines light on the queer and trans communities
EMPAC artist wins MacArthur Fellowship
Wu Tsang has been named a 2018 recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.
Photographer: provided photo

Wu Tsang, a filmmaker and performance artist who is working in residence at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) in Troy, has been named a 2018 recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

Tsang, who has been working at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute venue since 2016, will premiere a new collaborative work, "Sudden Rise," Saturday at 9:30 p.m. as part of EMPAC's 10-year anniversary. She will share the stage with fellow performance artist Josh Johnson, cellist Patrick Belaga and electronic musician Asma Maroof.

Also based in Los Angeles, Tsang works at EMPAC as part of the collective, "Moved by the Motion," an interdisciplinary ensemble that entangles language, movement, image, film and music. Co-written by Tsang and Fred Moten, "Sudden Rise" weaves fragments of Langston Hughes, Jimi Hendrix, Hannah Arendt, W.E.B. DuBois and James Baldwin around elements of Shakespeare's tragedy and "phantasmagoria," an 18th-century form of horror-theater in which actors perform alongside ghostly apparitions projected on scrims.

Tsang, whose work shines a light on the queer and trans community, gained national acclaim in 2012 for her documentary film, "Wildness," telling the story of a trans bar in Los Angeles. Tsang's other short films include "Duilian" in 2015, "You're Dead to Me" in 2013 and "Tried and True" in 2012. She was also named one of Filmmaker Magazine's "25 New Faces of Independent Film."

Another EMPAC alumna, choreographer and performer Okwui Okpokwasill, also earned a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship on Tuesday. In 2017, Okpokwasill performed her dance-theater piece "Poor People's TV Room" at EMPAC.  

EMPAC's "10 Years" celebration begins Thursday at 7 p.m. and runs through Friday and Saturday, concluding with "Sudden Rise." For information visit www.rpi.edu.



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