ARCOS Presents ETHER JUNK
ARCOS premieres an interactive transmedia performance-installation, Ether Junk, Friday, August 30 through Sunday, September 8 at Austin’s Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. “A staged rehearsal of possible cyborg realities,” the piece uses dance as a method to interrogate how emergent technologies de-center the body and offers audience-participants opportunities to assert their humanity in an increasingly opaque technoworld. In-person viewers of the performances will be joined by audiences at other locations screening an interactive livestream of the piece and using their phones to shape the action remotely. As an integrated part of the transmedia piece, ARCOS presents a mixed-media photography exhibition by interdisciplinary artists Carla Alcántara and Sarah Navarrete.
Ether Junk is the culmination of a series of experiments exploring the integration of online livestreaming video with performance that ARCOS has been conducting over the last three years in residencies, performances, and exhibitions in Kentucky, Montana, New Mexico, Texas, and Virginia. Inspired by the radical potential for connection and agency demonstrated by tech-savvy activists in the twenty-first century, ARCOS seeks to “hack” common technological mechanisms and behaviors, such as mobile devices, earbuds, social media, and selfies. Hacking these interfaces, or repurposing them into performance for other than their originally intended uses, Ether Junk subverts the borders constructed around us all by internal and external forces.
Engaging deeply with the ways that our images floating out in the “ether” of the internet increasingly serve as replacements for our physical selves, the performances will be in active conversation with a collaborative mixed-media photographic exhibition in the ESB-MACC auditorium by Carla Alcántara and Sarah Navarrete, emerging interdisciplinary artists who work across dance and photography. Originally from El Paso, Navarrete has performed in ARCOS projects at the intersection of dance and technology since 2016 and received recognition for her photography by EASTside magazine. She finds resonance in the project’s investigation of “identity and its capacity for multiplicity,” which she is exploring through portraiture that seeks to break through the boundaries of time and dimension. Alcántara, born in Mexico City and working in Tijuana since 2015, experiments with capturing the complexity of human bodies in motion and also looks forward to stretching into new territory in the mixed-media exhibition. Her first project with ARCOS, Alcántara is particularly struck by the diverse group of collaborators, “distinct artists coming from different contexts and cultures to create the same performance work” that is full of both “information that goes beyond the borders of its country and new ideas about the use of technology.”
ARCOS Presents, the producing series under which Alcántara and Navarrete’s joint exhibition appears alongside Ether Junk, is one of several programs in training and development for independent artists that the company offers in Austin. ARCOS Presents will also host performances by interdisciplinary tap dance artist Michael J. Love at the George Washington Carver Museum’s Boyd Vance Theater September 20–22 and 27–28. Love was previously a recipient of ARCOS’ Dance Artist Development Award, an annual microgrant to support growth in independent artists’ practices, which is reviewed by a national panel. Other local awardees have included Lisa Hueske, Hunter Sturgis, and Erica Saucedo, with finalists Stephanie Patrick, Sandie Donzica, and Rachel Nayer receiving full scholarships to ARCOS’ semiannual dance workshops. Applications for a new microgrant, the Media Artist Development Award, will open August 9 with a deadline on September 9. ARCOS has also served as fiscal sponsor for projects including Us Kids Are Alone in the House and In Here by Magadalena Riley, SoulFunktion’s House music-inflected free public dance parties, including their upcoming event Yes Body on August 16 at Givens Park, and Articulate Austin’s community-engaged choreographic series, whose season will culminate with a final presentation September 13–15 at Balance Dance Studios. ARCOS’ Class + Coffee series, weekly contemporary dance technique classes followed by informal community gatherings, resumes after the close of Ether Junk, on Tuesdays from 10–11:30am at Tapestry Dance’s new location near Emo’s, at 2015 East Riverside Drive, Suite 7BD.
Performances of Ether Junk will take place in the Auditorium of the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center at 8pm Friday and Saturday, August 30–31 and Wednesday through Saturday, September 4–7, with Sunday matinee performances at 2pm on September 1 and 8. More information and tickets can be found at ether.arcosdance.com. This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department and presented with the support of the City of Austin’s Artist Access Program, Parks and Recreation Department.
ARCOS experiments rigorously to discover adventurous new forms of contemporary performance. ARCOS pursues this mission through two major avenues: by creating innovative multimedia performances accessible and relevant to a diverse range of contemporary audiences, and through interdisciplinary training and development programming for performing artists at various stages in their careers. Its performances challenge dominant ways of thinking, blur the borders between conventionally distinct categories, and reflect the turbulent process of traditions in flux. ARCOS' educational activities include university residencies, semi-annual interdisciplinary performance intensives, weekly dance technique and informal community-building events, microgrants, and fiscal sponsorship. The company has been honored locally with an Austin Critics Table Award and internationally with a "Spirit of the Fringe" award at Edinburgh Fringe. In Austin, the company has presented work at Austin Dance Festival, Frontera Fest, Revolve, Fusebox Festival, Blanton Museum of Art's SoundSpace series, and the Museum of Human Achievement. ARCOS has received public and private grants and commissions to create and present work at centers for contemporary art, festivals, and interdisciplinary symposia throughout Texas, the US, and abroad.
About Carla Alcántara and Sarah Navarrete
Carla Gómez Roel Alcántara is a dancer, visual artist, and performance maker. She is founder of TEMPO Dance and Visual Art, a multidisciplinary company that takes the form of a laboratory promoting body language as a medium of communication that shapes our way of seeing the world. Born in Mexico City, she has lived and worked in Tijuana since 2015, where she works with contemporary dance company Lux Boreal. She has participated in festivals internationally as both a dancer and photographer and has exhibited her work in galleries throughout the Tijuana area.
Sarah Annie Navarrete is an interdisciplinary artist who synthesizes dance and photography to choreograph kinetic narratives in front of her lens. She is most interested in using the language of movement to explore behavioral curiosities, identity and peer into the subconscious realm of our humanity. Her minimalistic images are constructed using the human form, movement, and color theory to create surreal environments and enigmatic characters. Originally from El Paso, Sarah has lived and worked in Austin since 2016, where she was named among EASTside magazine's "5 Must-See" artists during EAST 2018.