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Homo Kemoni Project

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In 2019 Miriam Strasser initiated her investigation of a Butoh-Clown-Character she named “Homo Kemoni”. In the “Homo Kemoni Project” she collaborates with different artists for inter-transdisciplinary performance research and creation.

"Homo Kemoni" thrives on what people radiate: their feelings, energies, complexes...

their subconsciousness, if not the collective subconsciousness... The audience feeds the play of this being, by their presence, their emotions; which gives physical expression in dance to everything it feels and absorbs and amplifies every impulse in the space.

The Homo Kemoni Project is an inter-transdisciplinary performance research project that aims to investigate topics from a different perception, a different state of consciousness that is rather subconscious, intuitiv and emotional, using the scenic languages of Butoh Dance, Clown and Physiacl Theater. The project is currently researching the subjects “Sexuality” (“Contaminated Marriage”, german “Verseuchte Ehe”) and “States of Consciousness” (“ContaKt: Consciousness in Relation”, german “Bewusstsein in Beziehung”).

“Contaminated Marriage” was shown at the interdisciplinary art festival "Böse Kunst" in Graz, Austria in May 2023 and at the “Butohresque - Vienna Butoh Festival Vol.4” at Lalish Theater in October 2023. The Artistic Scientific performance “Consciousness in Relation” will be presented at Theater Arche, Vienna in autumn (September and November) 2024.


"ConTaKt: Consciousness in Relation"


How does consciousness emerge? What are the physical mechanisms involved? Does it have a specific location in our brain? How many different states of consciousness exist? Do plants possess consciousness?

The enigma of consciousness and its associated questions remain among the great mysteries that modern neuroscience has yet to unravel.

“ConTaKt: Consciousness in Relation” unites art and science, mind and body, in a spellbinding blend of poetry and scientific inquiry, sensory experience, and philosophical exploration through movement. This innovative theater-performance merges butoh dance with clowning, physical theater, music, and digital art to journey through the multifaceted dimensions of consciousness. Through playfully whimsical interactions between the genderless, animalistic humanoid figure "Homo Kemoni" and the female human-machine entity "Harmony" within natural altered states such as sleep, meditation, or dance, the performance endeavors to unveil the intricacies of our brains and tackle the forefront challenges of scientific inquiry.

Step into the captivating world of 'Consciousness in Relation,' where the dynamics of human connection take center stage. This theater-performance invites audiences to explore the myriad ways individuals establish meaningful relationships and engage with one another. Through a mesmerizing blend of movement, narrative, and visual storytelling, the performance delves into the intricacies of contact and relating, from physical proximity to emotional resonance. Audiences will witness the unfolding of diverse encounters, each illuminating the complexities of communication, empathy, and shared experience. As the narrative unfolds, 'Consciousness in Relation' prompts reflection on how these interactions shape our perceptions of ourselves and the world around us. Prepare to be moved, inspired, and challenged as you journey through the rich tapestry of human connection in this unforgettable theatrical experience.

This is an international collaborative project between the Homo Kemoni Project and Synaptic Butoh.

Text-Languages: English, German, Spanish, nonverbal, gestual, digital-visual

Artistic direction, production, text: Miriam Strasser

Creation and performance: Miriam Strasser and Lucía Sombras (Lucía Callén) 

Music and composition: Scharmien Zandi

Digital creation: Mahdi Bakhshi

Graphic support: Stefan Schneider

Technical support: Ronald Rigo

Stage assistance: Will Lopes

Light: Andrès Ryba

Production: Homo Kemoni Project (Vienna) and Synaptic Butoh (Spain)

Photography: Carmen Fernández


With the support of Goethe Institute, European Union, María Pages Foundation and Choreographic Centre.

This work was produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union.



"Consciousness in Relation" is an international research project aimed at creating a trans- and interdisciplinary stage performance that explores the neurobiology of consciousness while integrating art and science. The project delves into the neurobiological mechanisms of various states of consciousness and the relationships and interactions between them. To achieve this, the participating cultural creators, Miriam Strasser, a performance artist and anthropologist (BSc), Lucia Callén, a performance artist and PhD in neuroscience, along with Scharmien Zandi, a musician and composer, and Mahdi Bakhshi, a digital-visual artist, combine the scenic languages of experimental, exploratory gestural theater - such as Butoh and Clown, music, and audiovisual media to investigate the processes of consciousness in movement and link them with a scientific-philosophical narrative.

Our goal is to explore and decipher what happens in the brain during natural altered states of consciousness, such as sleep, lucid dreaming, or ritual dance, and to bring the latest discoveries of science to the public through physical, scenic, and audiovisual imagery.


We are interested in natural altered states of consciousness, which we aim to make visible using scientific imaging techniques and then develop into artistic projections that invite a visual journey through the human consciousness.


The arc of the dramaturgical concept is based on various states of consciousness (see graphic), with the number of natural states of consciousness varying significantly depending on perspective and culture, ranging from 3 to 25 states as described by Freudian psychology to the Indian Hindu-Dharma.

The consciousness states shown above are the "baseline" of our dramaturgical concept, but we will vary their order and differentiate the states (e.g., dividing "sleep" into different sleep phases and "dream" into "normal dream," nightmare, lucid dream, etc.), and add consciousness states not listed, such as "Butoh state," "music," "sex"...

We also aim to explore different levels of altered consciousness and develop our own artistic-scientific "alphabet" from them. Additionally, we aim to explore and incorporate new technologies like artificial intelligence as "meta-consciousness."

Scenically, this means that the performance begins with "sleep" in an inward state and evolves into a "happening" with audience participation. Various states of consciousness and contact possibilities are traversed, with the audience becoming increasingly actively engaged and involved in the stage action.

The stage action is accompanied by a scientific-philosophical narrative that runs like a thread throughout the performance, and by artistic visual projections based on neuroscientific data.

To achieve this, we plan to create the following visual elements: 3D animations of the human brain illustrating the processes of the described states of consciousness (by showing the brain activity, messured by EEG), which will be abstracted during the performance; the animation of a "lucid dream sequence" with which the performers can interact aswell as a nightmare sequence; an abstract visual sequence based on a small EEG-Dataset recorded during Butoh-Dance; and the construction of a digital mask using AI on the theme of "meta-consciousness." Additionally, we plan to generate live visuals during the performance using "smartwatches," which will be fueled by data from the autonomic nervous system (body temperature, heart rate, sweat secretion, etc.) and visualize the processes of the autonomic system during the stage play.


The musical concept for our performance project is based on the frequencies of different brain waves corresponding to different states of consciousness and aims to create soundscapes that convey the atmosphere of these states of consciousness (e.g., GAMMA above 30 Hz [peak experiences of insight], BETA 13-30 Hz [concentration], ALPHA 8-12 Hz [meditation], THETA 4-8 Hz [dreaming], and DELTA below 4 Hz [deep sleep]).


This project is carried out in several phases:

PHASE 1: In the first phase, the research phase, we will connect the theoretical content we are investigating, and the research and EEG recordings we are conducting in collaboration with neuroscientists at the Miguel Hernández University in Elche, with movement and body dynamics.

PHASE 2: In the second phase, the creation phase, we will develop the choreography and dramaturgy of the performance by working on the text and connecting it with physical dramaturgy.

PHASE 3: In the third phase, the technological interaction, we will develop the sound landscape and the audiovisual landscape to integrate the technological language with the choreography of movement and the narration of scientific results.

PHASE 4: Presentation. Our premiere will take place on September 20, 2024, at the "Theater Arche Wien" in Vienna. In addition to this performance season, guest performances and tours are planned.

Motivation and Specification

"For all this, we have no words..." This project aims to start where language reaches its limits. Deep within our bodies lie memories, traumas, wisdom, dreams, and magical sensations that are difficult to explain and almost impossible to describe. We aim to explore this source of consciousness, which connects us all (and is probably the origin of spirituality and religions), and approach it from two different directions: through the sensory, physical approach through the body, immersing ourselves in states of consciousness, on the one hand, and through the scientific, philosophical, descriptive, and observational approach, on the other hand.

Thus, we want to express with our bodies through experimental, exploratory gestural theater what cannot be put into words - what must be lived, felt. And we invite the audience to live and feel it with us.

With an audiovisual file, we aim to express what can be put into words, using the spoken languages English (mainly for the "main narrative," the scientific-philosophical "explanatory"/descriptive parts), Spanish, and German (mainly for the poetic and "personal" narrative, the "self-reports"/poetic storytelling parts).

In the audio file, we want to include both self-written material and material from interviews/research.

The visuals are created based on neuroscientific data and free creative expression, illustrating various states of consciousness and their processes in relation to brain activity. The goal is to make abstract and highly emotional stage events more tangible, to make hidden inner states rational and visible, and to create identifiability that allows feelings and traumatic experiences to be assigned and pathways to self-help to be shown. (Insights from dream research, for example, show that lucid dreaming can be learned as a way out of recurring nightmares.) Ultimately, the project is an invitation to more sensitivity and mindfulness, which should lead through contact to a shared happening with the audience, which plays an interactive improvisation game with the performers on stage, because in play we are authentic, present, and full of joy - perhaps the "excellent" state of consciousness with the most synaptic processes in the brain... In the truest sense of the word: when we play, new synaptic networks grow in our brains, which can later be used to increase the cognitive abilities of the mind.

Since both performers have a scientific background in "biochemistry" and "biology" and have studied in the same artistic fields (at the Nouveau Colombier Mime School in Madrid), we want to combine our methods and knowledge to explore the neuroscientific background of performance art and especially to investigate the processes in the brain during the "Butoh state" (scientifically) in a way that serves as a common "asset", as there is very little description of the neurobiological processes of "Butoh". This avant-garde contemporary performance art of Butoh dance has indeed only been scientifically studied once in the United States, in an artistic-scientific project by Vangeline France and the New York Butoh Institute. In Spain, Lucía Callén has begun with her research, creation, and education project "Synaptic Butoh" to unite these two disciplines (Butoh dance and neuroscience) by conducting intensive courses for performing artists in the creation using these techniques during the academic year 2023-2024, while Miriam Strasser, through her work on her Butoh-clown character "Homo Kemoni," delved into the depths of consciousness research to decrypt what exactly happens in these so similar inner states (Butoh dance and clowning) in the human brain. We want to continue this groundbreaking research regarding the neuroscientific implementation of Butoh dance and thereby make a contribution to society. In this sense, we are currently collaborating with Dr. Eduardo Fernández from the Department of Histology and the Institute of Bioengineering of the Medical Faculty of the University Miguel Hernández, and have recorded brain waves during some Butoh performances with EEG devices as part of our research process in January and February 2024. For the continuation of the physical/performative research phase, Artist in Residencies will take place in Spain (Madrid and Salamanca) in April and May 2024.

Photos: Miriam Strasser and Lucia Callèn during EEG scans at the Miguel Hernandez University in February 2024. The initial investigations have shown that the "subtle awakening" (entering the Butoh state) can be observed through measurement. Furthermore, a clear change in brain activity in the Butoh state can be observed. (Images provided by the Lintec research group of UMH).

“Contaminated Marriage”

In this performance Homo Kemoni reacts to the audience as well as to the audiofile “contaminated marriage”, which is talking about sexual violence institutionalized through marriage. The sound file contains original recordings from parliamentary debates in Germany in 1990, in which predominantly male members of parliament voted against the inclusion of rape within marriage in the penal code, as this could not be equated with the rape of a "foreign" woman.

Homo Kemoni itself is a genderless being. It reacts in a non-judgmental and playful way to all the statements made in the audio file and takes them up as play impulses, innocently incarnating the different characters described in the file and expressing their beliefs. The audio file questions the statements made in a female voice and finally talks about intimacy and female desire in the end.

Performance: Miriam Strasser / Audiofile: Isabel Winter


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Homo Kemoni Project

Auckenthalergasse 7

1210 Wien

Tel: 0043-663-06404453

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