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Butoh Experiments

2 November 2023 @ IKLECTIK, London
Doors 7:00pm / Start 7:30pm
An Evening of Experimental Performance and Live Music Inspired by Butoh

Ben Jeans Houghton

Bodies of Light ensue from Darkness
Howlround & Merkaba Macabre

£15 advance / £17 door

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Ben Jeans Houghton

Named after the philosophical term for reincarnation, this performance offers an opportunity to consider Butoh’s anarchic embodiment within the energetic ecosystem of a living cosmos, as explored by Gnostic Astrology. Gnostic pessimism purports to our souls being trapped in the illusory reality of a false god, whilst Gnostic optimism feels our souls elect to be embodied, in a tutelary theatre of transformation towards enlightenment.

Ben Jeans Houghton's ritual performances explore and express esoteric metaphysics through the magic of meaning making. This performance presents explicit parallels between the evolutionary implications of Gnostic Astrology, that pertain directly to the cataclysmic histories that inspired Butoh’s founders to dance the wound of darkness, that remains a hidden cornerstone of our most honest humanity.

The performance is scored to a narration, that via the personhood of an animism, takes us from the big bang, to the birth of suns - as roving god/desses on quests to transform, through the formation of solar systems - as a spiral dance of deific archetypes, that incepted the advent of life on a world stage, ghost written by the patterned light of distant stars, to a history of mind that demands we dance our shadow home.

Ben Jeans Houghton


Gnostic Animist, Artist and Astrologer Ben Jeans Houghton’s multidisciplinary practice spans votive-sculpture, architectural-installation, oneiric film-essay, liquid-crystal painting, self-reflexive writing, ritual costume, improvised performance, mantric-glossolalia and esoteric lectures. The work explores and expresses magic; the art of transformation and its methodologies, technologies, agencies, and implications, through art-praxis, as-gnosis, informed by astrological, philosophical, and metaphysical perspectives.


Ben has delivered exhibitions, screenings, presentations, performances and publications internationally in Germany, Greece, Africa, Japan, South Korea, and America and nationally across the UK with CCA, Gymnasium Gallery, Bloc Projects, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Generator Projects, Whitstable Biennale, BFI and Channel Four, Trans-States and Astromagia.

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Bodies of Light
ensue from Darkness

Howlround & Merkaba Macabre

An expanded audiovisual performance inspired by the profound insights of Yoshito Ohno, this live collaboration explores the morphic states of Butoh born out of the chaotic post-war climate of Japan. The duo will perform a structured piece that resonates with the haunting soundscapes of early 1960s ‘Cine Dance', radiating in monochromatic intensity.


Sound Designer & Performer

Howlround was founded by sound designer, radio producer and audio archivist Robin The Fog in 2012 to create recordings, performances and installations entirely from manipulating magnetic tape on a quartet of vintage tape machines, with all additional effects and artificial reverb strictly forbidden - a process that has been described by Electronic Sound magazine as ‘conjur[ing] magic’. Eleven years, ten albums and innumerable performances, installations and film soundtracks later, his initial attempts to become a ‘one man Radiophonic Workshop’ have morphed into using closed input tape-loops to create blistering noise and primitive techno, which is quite a long way from where he started. He is also one half of  The Howling, a project with writer and broadcaster Ken Hollings exploring the duo's shared love of tape, text and trash aesthetics. Their sopohmore LP 'Incredible Night Creatures of the Midway' is out now on Wormhole and has been described as 'the missing link between John Cage and Suicide', while an expanded reissue of Howlrounds' eighth studio LP 'Trespass And Welfare' was released earlier in the summer.

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Merkaba Macabre

Film Maker, Musician & Performer

Merkaba Macabre is a multimedia project by Steven McInerney, combining film, digital projection and sound to create experimental films, live audiovisual performances and installations. McInerney's work draws upon dichotomous energies, meditating between the sacred and profane. His live shows explore psychospiritual tropes and altered perception, often blurring the lines between science and fiction. McInerney is the founder of Psyché Tropes, a film label exploring the synaesthetic intersections between sound and its visual counterpart. Other collaborative projects include: IOME, Post Coma and Flying Disks.

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Butoh Without Bodies

Pascal Savy

Pascal Savy performs his newly composed music to film footage of butoh master Yoshito Ohno in action.

Pascal Savy

Composer & Performer

Pascal Savy is a French musician and performer based in London. He started making music influenced by early techno and experimental electronic music. Over the last 15 years he has explored more textural territories, often devoid of rhythms or melodies, and centered around atmosphere and immersion, to evoque imaginary spaces and expansive soundscapes. Nowadays, his music explores abstract ambient, noise and live electronics, and is informed by the tension between composition, improvisation and live performance. His work has been released on labels such as Audiobulb, Eilean Rec, Experimedia or AUDIO. VISUALS. ATMOSPHERE. and Cyclic Law.

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