Experimental Media Performance Lab (xMPL)

Experimental Media Performance Lab (xMPL) photo by Nick Merrick

Located in the Contemporary Arts Center, the Experimental Media Performance Lab which is referred to as the xMPL, is a state-of-the-art 4,000-sq.-ft. performance space has been built in the “black box” theatre genre.  The space boasts a projection room, live media performance space and versatile, reconfigurable seating to afford the audience a close-up, intimate experience.  In the model of the RedCat Theater adjacent to Disney Hall in Los Angeles, the space has the latest technological capabilities to facilitate live and streamed performances, at least some of which will be transmitted via the Internet into other spaces across the country or the world. The intent here is to provide a space that supports the presentation of work that combines elements of all of the art forms, with enhanced support for video, spatial acoustic experimentation and interactivity.


Directions to the Experimental Media Performance Lab


Directed by Annie Loui


January 25- 28, 2018

Experimental Media Performance Lab (xMPL)

Artistic Director of CounterBalance Theater and UCI Drama Professor Annie Loui, will create and premiere a new physical theater work at the xMPL (Experimental Media Performance Lab) in the Contemporary Arts Center at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, based on the recently published novel by New York Times “Editor’s Choice” novelist and UCI Professor, Michelle Latiolais. SHE will use a combined graduate and undergraduate team of performers and designers to construct the story of a runaway teenager in Los Angeles.  Exploring the strata of Los Angelenos (from the homeless under a freeway bridge, to an upscale gallery owner) our protagonist looks for a job, meaning, and a new home. Set in an urban Los Angeles of many cultures, promises and dangers, SHE follows the runaway through random encounters during one night alone on the street, resolving in unexpected redemption.

SHE is a contemporary story of Southern California, seen through the eyes of a teenage girl learning to navigate the opportunities and options of life.

Post-show discussions will include the author of the source material, Michelle Latiolais (Co-director of the UCI Writing Program) seeking to promote discussion about writing, but also about the unique social and economic construct of this place we call Los Angeles.

Evenings: January 25, 26, 27 at  8:00 p.m.
Matinees: January 27, 28 at 2:00 p.m.

Free admission; reservations required

For reservations and more information, visit illuminations.uci.edu

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More about CounterBalance Theater

CounterBalance Theater’s mission statement is “to create physical theater based on great literature” and has a history of working with Illuminations to share timeless and resonating stories with the UCI undergraduate population.  These works include The Odyssey (2014/2015) in the Claire Trevor Theater ; Elsewhere (2015/2016) in Tamkin Hall, UCI Medical School; and Longitude (2016/2017), in the Experimental Media Performance Lab (xMPL).

More about the Artists

Annie Loui works as a director/choreographer, and is the Artistic Director of Counter-Balance Theater.  She trained with dancer Carolyn Carlson (at the Paris Opera), and studied in France with Etienne Decroux,  Ella Jarosivitcz and Jerzy Grotowski.  Original physical theater pieces have been seen in France, Monaco, West Germany, Italy, and in the United States at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, among other venues. Longtime member of the Brandeis Theater Arts Department; she also taught extensively for the Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard before coming to the University of California, Irvine, where she now runs the Movement Program for the MFA Actor Training.  Her book The Physical Actor is published by Routledge Press.

Michelle Latiolais is the author of the novel She; Widow, a collection of stories shortlisted for The Believer Book Award; the novel A Proper Knowledge; and the novel Even Now, which received the Gold Medal for Fiction from the Commonwealth Club of California. She is a Professor of English at the University of California at Irvine, where she co-directs the Programs in Writing. She lives in Los Angeles.

January 25 - 8:00 pm, January 26 - 8:00 pm, January 27 - 2:00 pm, January 27 - 8:00 pm, January 28 - 2:00 pm
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INTERFACE: Alternate Reality

Created by Chad Michael Hall and John Toenjes


February, 12 & 13, 2018

7:30 pm

Experimental Media Performance Lab (xMPL)

Inspired by current advancements in augmented reality and a childhood obsession with Edward Packard’s Choose Your Own Adventure gamebook series, INTERFACE: Alternate Reality sends audiences on a physical, intellectual and emotional journey through the Contemporary Arts Center utilizing their smartphones and personal choices to decide how the piece unfolds. Combining site-specific dance, new media, interactive digital video and audio designs, and John Toenjes’ and Tony Reimer’s experimental MoSho app for iPhones and Androids, ITF:AltR combines organic spaces and places with cyberspace and virtual and augmented realities, creating an immersive and haptic theatrical experience.

ITF:AltR is the fourth installment of Chad Michael Hall’s unique brand of “Cyberdance Theater” with collaborators John Toenjes and Tony Reimer.  First conceived and developed at UCI, INTERFACE productions have since been presented in multiple venues on tour and most recently in the Krannert Center for the Arts at the University of Illinois.

A 2-week residency in the xMPL will culminate in two “work-in-progress” showings of the content generated free to the CTSA, UCI, and local Irvine communities.

Free event; reservations required. RSVP here.

For more information, visit http://21c.arts.uci.edu/emergence

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February 12 - 7:30 pm, February 13 - 7:30 pm
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Free John Cage & Fluxus Performances

Thursday, February 15, 2018

7:00 p.m.

xMPL (Experimental Media Performance Lab)

Contemporary Arts Center


The Beall Center for Art + Technology, UCI Department of Art, and Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology program invite you to a dynamic evening of live John Cage and Fluxus performances. Scores from John Cage's 1970s "Song Books," and a re-staging of his famed 1968 performance, "Reunion" will be performed by UC Irvine students, as well as assorted scores by Fluxus artists.

In his seminal course at the New School for Social Research, Cage taught young artists how to write event scores using chance operations, found sound, and everyday objects to produce live performances. To define this idea, John Cage coined the term "indeterminancy" during a series of lectures he gave in 1956, in which he outlined how indeterminacy played a role in performances since the era of Bach. His description was, "a performance of a composition which is indeterminate of its performance is necessarily unique. It cannot be repeated. When performed for a second time, the outcome is other than it was. Nothing therefore is accomplished by such a performance, since that performance cannot be grasped as an object in time." This event will include live performances that underline his revolutionary concept.

This event is now "SOLD OUT!" If you would like to join the Wait List - you may do so using the link below. Alternatively, there will be a stand-by line starting at 6:30pm on the night of the event - priority entry will be given to those registered on the Wait List. Thank you!!



We would like to thank the The John Cage Trust (Red Hook, NY), and the Beall Family Foundation for their generous support of this performance and related exhibition, "Drawn from a Score," which is open to the public at the Beall Center for Art + Technology through February 25, 2018. Center hours are Monday - Saturday, 12-6pm. Admission to the exhibition is also free.

February 15 - 7:00 pm
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Nothing Will Come of Nothing: The Lear Project

Directed by Philip Thompson


March 15-18, 2018

Experimental Media Performance Lab (xMPL)

Sometimes the emotional weight of a great text can prevent us from really hearing what's being spoken. The actors, the sets and costumes, and we as an audience can become so wrapped up in the feeling of the play, that it's difficult to really attend to what’s being said, and to hear it as if for the first time. For King Lear, a play obsessed with the stripping away of layers of identity and attachment, this is particularly problematic. In this intimate, stripped-down production, we hope to make it possible for audiences to hear the play more simply and immediately.

Evenings: March 15, 16, 17, 18 at 8:00 p.m.
Matinee: March 18 at 2:00 p.m.

Free admission; reservations required


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March 15 - 8:00 pm, March 16 - 8:00 pm, March 17 - 8:00 pm, March 18 - 2:00 pm, March 18 - 8:00 pm
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Rhizomatic Reflections


April and May 2018


Experimental Media Performance Lab (xMPL)

New Work by Graduate Students in Art, Dance, Drama and Music.

Free admission; reservations required

For reservations and more information, visit http://21c.arts.uci.edu/emergence

Institute for 21st Century Creativity
Art + Technology + Design

April 1 (All day)
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