Jun 10th 2022

In-process showing by HCL Fellow Ayako Kato

Presented by High Concept Labs (HCL) in Joint Residency with the Monira Foundation at Mana Contemporary

Limited capacity. RSVP and proof of vaccination required for admittance.

Ayako Kato: LUCA/Res Communis: ETHOS Episode III

Ayako Kato presents the in-progress performance of LUCA/Res Communis: ETHOS Episode III, which premieres October 15, 2022 at Palmisano Park. Directed and choreographed by Ayako for 8 dancers and musicians, the live performance incorporates installation, meditative experiential activities through a guided nature walk. ETHOS Episode III connects attendees to the land, to the past, present, and future Indigenous people among us, and the residents of nearby neighborhoods Pilsen, La Villita, and Chinatown.

Collaborators include vocalist-storyteller Susana Ollin Kuikatl Tekpatzia Bañuelos (Aztec Nahua), performer Joseph Lefthand (Cheyenne-Arapaho, Taos, Zuni descent), water storyteller Danielle Gallet.

Dancers: Tuli Bera and Darling Squire (Team LUCA Co-Leaders), and Sophie Allen, Silvita Diaz Brown, Angela Gronroos, Carla Gruby, Lydia Jekot.

LUCA/Res Communis: ETHOS Episode III is part of a multi-year series by Ayako designed to provoke and practice new contemporary nature-centric ETHOS. She explains:

“This aesthetic and physical inquiry seeks out a new community building on the common ground, even further tracing back to LUCA, the Last Universal Common Ancestor of all living things.

Acknowledging humans as a part of transformative and cyclical nature and nature itself, the performance reflects on the intersections of humanity through its past, present, and future. Res Communis or Commons, the natural elements which are considered as necessary resources (unfortunately in the capitalistic term) for all humankind to live such as air, water, and soil on the earth as habitat, are acknowledged as source of life through the ceremonial movement work along with Native American, Aztec traditions, and contemporary water conservation/restoration approaches.”

Follow the new work in development ETHOS Project website: https://www.ayakokatodance.com/new-page

LUCA/Res Communis: ETHOS Episode III is supported by High Concept Labs, an Individual Artists Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Chicago Moving Company, 3Arts Residency Fellowship, Artist Communities Alliance, Montalvo Arts Center, the Reva & David Logan Foundation, the Chicago Arts Department.

About the Artist

Ayako Kato is a contemporary choreographer and dancer, and a 2022 Fellow Artist in Residency at High Concept Labs. She grew up in Japan, where Ayako competed and danced professionally in ballet for more than a decade before turning to contemporary dance and choreography. Her practice is in deep collaboration with music and grounded on the principles of furyu, Japanese for “wind flow”, as it relates to cyclical transformation and human motion in nature.

During her HCL residency, Ayako is developing the second and third parts of ETHOS, an aesthetic and physical inquiry about an ideal ethos of humanity and how it is perceptible through dance. The quarantine and expected recovery year from the pandemic play a transformational part in Ayako Kato’s personal and artistic journey toward “nature-multicultural centrism advocacy”. She plans to write about her observations on the principles furyu from the experience of dance, movement, and improvisation as paths to open, grounded, centered, independent, and interdependent healthy beings.


More about Open Labs

Open Labs is a flexible platform for High Concept Labs’ Artists in Residence to share, test ideas, and develop perspective on their work.

Each month, two or more HCL Artists collaborate to structure an evening that opens their creative process in meaningful ways through work in progress showings, workshops, panel discussions, immersive experiences, and more. Audiences are invited to witness and share back through moderated conversations that nurture a community rich in cultural, artistic, and intellectual discourse.


This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, and by a Grant of U.S. Department of Treasury funds through the City of Chicago. The opinions, findings, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Treasury or the City of Chicago.


HCL continues to be vigilant during the Covid-19 pandemic, and prioritizes the health and safety of its community.

Please be prepared to show a physical or photo copy of your vaccination record of an FDA-or WHO-approved vaccine and booster, along with photo ID.

All guests to HCL at Mana Contemporary are required to wear masks at all times inside the facilities. Be advised that some artists may be unmasked during the performance, but are following the same protocols.

HCL welcomes you for our in-person gatherings; we remain in accordance with City of Chicago protocols including requiring proof of full vaccination against Covid-19 (at least 14 days after final dose) for all artists, visitors, and staff.

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