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Ether series

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When the world was plunged into the terror of the pandemic, ARCOS found themselves living out their hybrid creative research. Suddenly, we were all forced to consider the virtual as reality as our lives moved “remote,” our responsibility to one another in times of crisis, and the digital sphere as a place of powerful political organizing. The lessons of the Ether series served as grounding principles as we navigated our new, collective reality. We were privileged to share some of those lessons with collaborators and audiences and continued to refine the applications of this research to our embodied survival in a complex world.

This birthed the creation of the first fully remote versions of the project, taking our performance experiments completely online. This browser-based interactive experience was first developed as part of the University of Texas at Austin’s Theatre & Dance season (2020) and was revised as a virtual student repertory project at the American Dance Festival (2021). In the summer of 2021, as the Delta variant of covid-19 emerged, we cautiously invited small live audiences into a third, hybrid iteration of the web-based project, aided by our Ether values of care, responsibility, and deep, embodied listening. These values were best personified in our December 2020 experiment PODS, a virtual call center where participants could contact a performer via phone to share their thoughts and watch the performer’s embodied response on a livestream video feed. These experiments have left a permanent imprint on us through our ability to connect with and care for one another across virtual and physical space.