Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, No. 13, September 14, 2012
Mark Century

Ash Bulayev

Ash Bulayev, an artist, administrator, activist, and producer, has
been named curator for dance and theater for EMPAC. Photo by India Lombardi-Bello

EMPAC Announces New Dance and Theater Curator

The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) has announced the appointment of Ash Bulayev as its new curator for dance and theater. From the early 1990s in New York City, Bulayev has been active in the theater and dance community as an artist, administrator, activist, and producer. For the past 10 years, he has worked as an independent curator and producer with a broad range of European institutions at the cross section of performing arts, new media, and research in collaborative processes.

Director of EMPAC Johannes Goebel said “Over the first decade of planning and moving EMPAC to its current unique platform for performing arts, media, and research, Rensselaer was fortunate to have had a strong curatorial team that shaped and established EMPAC’s program in such an outstanding way. Now that the founding generation of curators has moved on to new frontiers, we at EMPAC are enthusiastic that Ash Bulavev joins our team with his vast and varied experience. EMPAC values colleagues that can bridge different cultures, be they artistic or technical, regional, national or international, of different colors, different preferences, or different delights. We are excited to welcome Ash’s ideas and skills to move us forward.”

“EMPAC is singular within the American cultural landscape because of its unique existence as a breeding ground for experimentation,” said Bulayev. “It is a place where there is room for risks—an institution with an eye for evolution in and across artistic disciplines. It is truly an honor to join the team and to imagine together what the upcoming seasons may look like.”

From 2002-2011, Bulayev was the artistic director of, a collaborative umbrella for experiments in the fusion of performing arts and old/new media. In 2006-07, he was the project initiator and research director for the EU Culture 2000 funded project i-MAP (Integration of Media and Performance) in collaboration with leading media arts organizations in the Netherlands, Germany, Greece, and Bulgaria. In 2007-08, he was the programming consultant for PALLAS, one of the largest performing arts venues in Greece, bringing artists such as Diamanda Galas, Hotel Pro Forma, and Jan Fabre. In 2009-10 he co-commissioned CO-OS Platform, a global network of alternative financial models for creative and artistic production funded by UK Arts Council. Outside the arts sector, he was a project-based creative director for advertising and design firms in Europe and the U.S. He received an M.A. in theater from DasArts, an internationally acclaimed graduate program from the Amsterdam School of the Arts.

Hélène Lesterlin, EMPAC’s founding dance and theater curator, departed at the end of 2011 to return to a freelance career as artist and curator. “After seven years helping to create the many programs at EMPAC, I felt it was time for me to reorient my own practice. It was a difficult decision; EMPAC is an extraordinary place and I was thrilled to be a part of its development and to watch it grow, literally, from a foundation barely dug into the side of a hill to the inspiring and bustling place it is today.”


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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, Number 13, September 14, 2012
©2012 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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