Metempsychosis in Media, Performance and Sleep Choreography



Does oneiric states of consciousness drive digital and analog characters? Re-inventing mythological archetype of one’s dreamed self with augmented cognition and myth-informed mind-body relations, this talk explores metempsychosis in the dialogue between mythological narrative and technocultural imagination, describes the development process of the sleeper’s characterization and sleep choreography through the media x performance installation “Morphai,” as part of MITACS Fellowship and Sociability of Sleep, and discusses several novel approaches to sleep choreography fusing technology and body art. The notion “morphai” comes from the human shapes that the Greek god of dreams, Morpheus, sends to people when they fall asleep. Metempsychosis refers to the transmigration of a soul from one body to another which, in terms of body art and performance art, is externalized in movement. “Morphai” syncs the sleep performer’s dreamed self to two characters – the augmented avatar and the linework figure from moving inside a phosphorescent costume. Featuring the performance by artists Dayna McLeod and Laurie-Anne Gosselin, two Morphai dance to the score of the sleep performer’s own motion, neurological and physical, as an extension to the self in a continuous landscape of consciousness. As the digital Morphai is animated through biosensor data in sleep, the performer is dressed in a phosphorescent costume that blurs out their day identity but accentuates their night form, as a ritualized investigation of if and how sleep can be performed, fusing digital media and performance. The work “Morphai” is exhibited at Sociability of Sleep’s culmination exhibition “InSomnolence” curated by Marianne Cloutier, Alanna Thain and Aleksandra Kaminska, from June to July, 2023, in Tio’tia ke/Montréal.


Exhibition photo by Paul Litherland, exhibition “InSomnolence,” June – July 2023.

Bodies of Hybridity: Animal, Cyborg, and the Supernatural Becoming

In A. Malakasioti & C. Kokkiou (Eds.), Beauty and Monstrosity in Arts and Culture. London: Routledge. (Forthcoming, 2023)


In mythology, the hybridization of human forms of body with animalistic traits is closely tied to the ontology of supernatural power, while animals and robots share a similar moral status as other bodies considered inferior to humans. Today, technological advancements allow humans to negotiate between the other and the divine through machines or robotic body implants, creating cyborgs. The chapter investigates the supernatural becoming between animals and cyborgs, closely examining the origins of divinity in hybrid metamorphic deities found in different mythologies and multimedia art forms. Examples include animalistic deities in Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as their techno-digital reincarnations in the works of Tianzhuo Chen, Andrew Thomas Huang, and Lu Yang. The chapter explores cyborgs’ mythological significance in Ken Liu’s Good Hunting. It analyzes shapeshifting figures in our work Mixanthropy where form-motion synchronicity becomes a driving force for creative deification. Finally, it examines familial relations between animal-human, organism-machine, and the deified persona. Ancient mixanthropic spirits transition divine powers from animal-human to organism-machine amalgamations in the Digitocene paradigm. Robots and cyborgs have an occult dimension that resurrects mythological beliefs through the supernatural becoming, where technological enchantment replaces nature’s unfathomable depths while maintaining the supernatural persona.