Inception: ETHOS Episode II

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Funded on April 06, 2021
    • 110% contributed

For me, dance is the art of being like a condor hovering in the breeze. Though its outstretched wings appear still, they exist in constant transformation as they collaborate with the ever-changing conditions of the unseen winds. Inspired by this idea and “reading the air,” I am creating a new music and dance performance installation called Inception: ETHOS Episode II that will be presented outdoors at the South Shore Cultural Center Park in Fall 2021 as part of Night Out in the Parks through the Chicago Park District. This piece is the second iteration of my ETHOS project that reflects on humanity’s ancient and ancestral relationships to nature. The pandemic has been teaching us to appreciate the ordinary moments of our lives and to reflect on what matters most to us, including just being, moving, and breathing. With Inception, I will invite audience members to participate in a 90-minute aesthetic and physical inquiry about an ideal ethos of humanity and how it is perceptible through movement and the way of being. I am choreographing and performing in this ambitious project that will feature an ensemble of dancers, musicians, and community cast members recruited in partnership with Calumet Is My Back Yard (CIMBY), a nature conservation youth stewardship program in the neighborhood. Your support will help cover artist fees, honoraria, and production costs to nurture this large team and envision the intangible and invisible ETHOS into the tangible and visible.

About This Project

My name is derived from the word ethos. My father who passed away in 2014 also named my two elder sisters after pathos and logos. As a dance artist, I sensed the call to explore this intangible and indeterminable element of ethos, especially now in this moment. My practice also has been influenced by the 17th-century haiku poet Matsuo Basho, who was an enthusiastic reader of Taoist Zhuangzi. The Taoistic bird's eye view helps us to shift our mental focus from the social norm to "the miraculous in the ordinary," grasping the moment of furyu, or "wind flow," which can be seen as aimless, yet the absolute cosmic moment of reality in nature and the universe.

My goal has been to bring this furyu moment to contemporary urban audiences. I’m guided by similar enlightening moments that have been shared through Stoicism by ancient Greeks; the Yoruba concept of Iwa Pele, or the Good Character; Pachamama from Andes; and Indigenous beliefs, to name a few. Respecting nature and being humble has been a universal idea among all humanity on the earth.

I am thrilled to actualize this utopian performance together with the ETHOS performers: Tuli Bera, Irene Hsiao, Lesley Keller, Amanda Maraist, Danielle Ross, Darling Shear, Xochyl Perez, Maryam Salem, and members of CIMBY. We will be joined by musicians Michael Zerang and Mabel Kwan, and a team of visual/video artists still in formation. 

What I hope is that Inception: ETHOS Episode II transmits a feeling of freedom to the audience, giving the impression of balancing emptiness (no control) and fulfillment (control) at the same time. Guided by our performance, visitors will experience being one with nature and recall that “we are nature.” 

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $10
    Colorful shout-out on social media ($10.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $25
    Above, plus your name on the ETHOS guidebook/program and video credits ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Above, plus a thank you on video from the ETHOS cast members ($50.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    Above, plus a private invitation to a Zoom rehearsal ($100.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $200
    Above, plus signed CDs from Mabel Kwan and Michael Zerang ($170.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    Above, plus a signed Thank You card from the cast members ($470.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $1000
    Above, plus a private invitation to an outdoor rehearsal and picnic with the cast and creative team ($950.00 is tax deductible.)

Ayako Kato

Reva & David Logan Foundation Awardee

Described as “moving everyday sculptures, artfully cast in naturalness” (Luzerner Zeitung, Switzerland), Ayako Kato is a kinetic philosopher/poet, originally from Yokohama, Japan. Since 1998, Ayako Kato/Art Union Humanscape has been pursuing contemporary experimental dance/choreography/improvisation in deep collaboration with over 80 …

View Ayako Kato's profile
  • Update 1: Spring is coming, and rehearsals as rituals
    Posted on February 28, 2021


    Walking with six directions in mind moved by the sun light

    Thank you so much again for your support!! We are blessed to be able to rehearse two times in a week through a hybrid method: one day on Zoom and one day in person (one by one, one hour each for now). Starting rehearsals early, I am experiencing the richness of time and what time can bring us. During the first rehearsal on Zoom, I asked "What is nature for you?" and for the second rehearsal, "Is nature other for you?" Last Friday, we learned about "seeing" by reading Irene Dowd's "Taking Root to Fly" Chapter 10: On Metaphor; discussing about the third eye, parietal eye, and pineal gland; watching the beginning of the PBS's "Native America" program video, and revisiting Joy Harjo's poem. Getting a hint from the video, we wrapped the rehearsal with improvisation exercise: the circular and spiral journey to find the right place, the center place/home with the sense of the six directions (heaven, earth, NESW/up, down, front & back, right & left) through our own center, sensing the sun light each of us receiving. On the video I heard, "It's not about finding a physical location, but living in balance with a natural world..." The video also talks about "care" for the center place. Then, I started to wonder what "care" as an urban human, I have been returning to nature. 

    Spring is coming and soon we will be able to be moving (and dancing) outside!!



    Update 2: Rehearsal Photo from last Friday, 2/26/2021
    Posted on March 01, 2021


    To the center place spirally, feeling lights

    Update 3: We are working hard...
    Posted on March 10, 2021
     Irene Hsiao working on sensing tensegrity through her body and beyond


    Irene Hsiao working on sensing tensegrity through her body and beyond

    On Wednesdays, thanks to High Concept Labs' support, I am being able to move with my dancers, yet individually. Today, 10-11 am with Lesley Keller on Zoom, 12-1 pm with Irene Hsiao, 1:15-3:15 pm Darling overlapped with 1:45-3:15 pm Tuli Bera, and I teach...from 3:30 - 5 pm and usually 5:30-6:30 pm with Amanda Maraist!! And, on Thursday, 7:30-8:30 pm with Danielle Ross!! In this way, I can work in details and deepen the materials and responsive to each dancer/performer's needs. I am planning to start to work with community cast members soon as well!!

    Photo is Irene Hsiao working on sensing tensegrity through her body and beyond!!

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