blue fish

Ayako Kato 
Dancer and Choreographer
Thursday, February 16, 2017 @ 7:30pm FREE
Terra Incognita Art Series

blue fish explores Ayako’s relationship to the production of, and destruction from, nuclear energy in both Japan and the U.S. This dance performance will be followed by a brief panel discussing movement as a means of transformation and eastern views of nature. Ayako’s goal is to enhance the contemporary audience’s sensibility of “the beauty of being as it is,” inspired by the traditional Japanese aesthetic of “furyu (風流),” literally wind flow. She is a dance artist influenced by a Japanese view of nature and the philosophy of Tao. Her ongoing practice is to rediscover humans as a part of nature and to represent human movement as the embodiment of “The Way” of nature. Nature encompasses the common elements of nature, including plants, flowers, animals, insects, birds, fish, ocean, rivers, mountains, water etc. But in Japanese, nature also means “being as it is.” For humans, this doesn’t mean doing as we please. To “be as it is,” we are constantly responsible for our own transformative state of being, in search of who we are, evolving together with others, following principles of nature in its cyclical thoroughness. There, the human mind is a seed source to create powerful phenomena. Any tiny movement can yield a moment of enormous impact. Our small actions can spark small social change—that can eventually lead to major and impactful social change. Ayako’s dance elevates the audience’s sensitivity in order to recognize the glowing, ephemeral beauty of being and gravity in themselves and others. It encourages perception of the intangible, or furyu. It affirms and nurtures the dignity of life.

Following the performance, there will be a brief panel discussion with Ayako and professors Jan Miyasaki, Peggy Choy, and Sulfikar Amir on eastern views of nature, nuclear energy, and movement as a means of transformation.

Ayako will also be leading a movement-based workshop February 17th 12:00-1:30pm at Village Community Cohousing. To register for this workshop email:

Additional funding, co-sponsorship, and support from: Borghesi-Mellon Interdisciplinary Workshops in the Humanities; Wisconsin Union Directorate Society & Politics; Center for Culture, History and Environment, Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies; The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies; Arts and Literature Laboratory; Madison Public Library; Wisconsin State Cartographers Office.

This event is presented by the Terra Incognita Art Series: Artists Exploring a New Ecological Epoch. Other 2017 events include:

March 8 – Jamey Stillings: Evolution of Ivanpah Solar. Central Library (3rd floor) – 7pm

March 9 – Jamey Stillings: Science and Technology Studies Brown Bag Series  – 12:30pm
April 2-8 –  Project Colorado!
April 2Wisconsin Film Festival will be presenting this feature legnth documentary followed by a panel with Murat Eyuboglu (Director), William Brittelle (Composer), and William deBuys (Writer).
April 5 – William deBuys: Not Shutting Down: Staying Engaged in an Era of Environmental Loss
(CHE colloqium) 7191 Helen C. White – 12:00-1:00
April 8 – William deBuys: Writing Environmental Stories: Strategies for Keeing it New. UW Arboretum – 9:30am. Part of the Center for Culture History and Environment Spring Writing Retreat. To register for this workshop email:!


Ayako Kato

Ayako Kato is an award winning Chicago-based dancer, choreographer, improviser, teacher, and curator, originally from Yokohama, Japan. Since 1998, she has been an artistic director of Ayako Kato/Art Union Humanscape (AUH) and has presented and performed her works extensively in the United States, Japan, and Europe. She has been studying dance anatomy under Irene Dowd since 2007. In addition to classical ballet and modern dance, she also studied Tai Chi, Noh Theater, and Butoh with master Kazuo Ohno, one of the founders. She holds MFA in Dance from the University of Michigan and a certificate from the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance of Wesleyan University.

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Arts + Literature Laboratory is located in Madison’s Schenk-Atwood neighborhood at 2021 Winnebago Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53704.

Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday 11am-3pm during exhibitions or by appointment. Please check the exhibitions calendar before planning your visit, as the gallery is closed between exhibitions and other schedule changes are posted here.


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