Exit Anthropos - Performing and leaving the AnthropoScene

Phase 3: Staging and Performing


Berlin based threatre group Theater.Macht.Staat has created an artistic project based on the research.  "Anthropos Ex (Machina)" contained a theatre part, an immersive performance istallation and a concert by Kinbom & Kessner and their live band. The piece premiered in march 2023 in Berlin, Germany:

In a strange place, remotely reminiscent of a small living room in a new urban development, the quirky ornithologist Ziggi Zuheegen lives in seclusion, immersed in her research. To celebrate her birthday, she invites people into her sparse living room. The celebration initially takes place on a small scale. Musician Nicolas is booked to play her a serenade and everything seems peaceful. However, reality begins to crack when Ziggi's obscure aunt Roswitha pays her a visit. She gives them both a mixture of love potion and truth serum and eventually leads them into the surreal world of Ziggi's subconscious: Heat and rain, past and future, man and machine combine to form a kaleidoscope of human (im)possibilities.


"Anthropos Ex (Machina)" combined absurd theatre, performative installation and live concert. Included are Theater.Macht.Staat and guests from the visual arts, dance and video art and the theatre music duo Kinbom & Kessner + Band with music from their current album "Anthropos" (Hook Music/Theater der Zeit).


By and with: Sonja Kessner, Anton Pohle, Cathrein Unger, Peter Posniak, Anton August Dudda, Angharad Matthews, Adrian Williams, wer.werther & Leonard Wölfl, Jenny Fitz, Kinbom & Kessner + Band (Fredrik Kinbom, Sonja Kessner, Chris Farr, Andreas Dormann).

Supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media as part of NEUSTART KULTUR.

Project's authors and collaborating institutions:

Sonja Kessner (artist and anthropologist), Theater.Macht.Staat, Kinbom & Kessner

theaterstaat.com / kinbomkessner.com


Phase 2: Preparing for Practice

Based on the scenic material, the text sketches and the musical treatment of the topic found in phase 1, a play with a staging concept has been developed. Additionally, scenic materials and video slides for the live performance of Kinbom & Kessner's song cycle “Anthropos” have been created and developed. Play and musical performance will be staged together in step 3 by Sonja Kessner and the Theater.Macht.Staat ensemble. 


Special questions in concept development are:


- What are post-anthropocene dramaturgies? 

- How can collaborative models from nature (e.g. mycelial networks, symbiotic forms of life, ecosystems) 

  be transferred to the communication structures of the performing arts? 

- Which visual language evokes which worlding? 

- How can art and sciences be combined to generate further knowledge (by enabling dialoges, e.g. between 

  object theater and object oriented intology)? 

Photos: S. Kessner

Photos: Jenny Fitz

Photo: F. Kinbom



The Anthropocene, the era in which the human was the center of all being or at least as such felt, is coming to an end. The climate crisis and the pandemic are impressive proof that the human is one living being among many. And activists, artists and social scientists work continuously on solutions for more environmental and resource protection as well as on climate and distributive justice within the han community and also towards non-human actors and entities.


Despite inspiring theoretical approaches (e.g. by Harraway, Latour, Kohn, and many others) and technological and agro-ecological innovations, the necessary political and eco-social processes are still happening far too slowly (compare, for example, the current statistics on species extinction, on the decline in biodiversity and the procrastination of the Paris Climate Goals).


Nevertheless, a number of small successes (changed consumer behavior, legal protection for non-human beings, numerous activist projects, international efforts to protect the climate, etc.) give reason for hope. Our working hypothesis is that the sum of these partial successes grows out of the dissemination of abstract knowledge in all parts of society and that art can play a key role here.



Phase 1: Fragments and Frictions

The projects first phase's research question was: How can art (with a focus on the performing arts) make existing knowledge about socio-ecological necessary transformation processes tangible both intellectually and emotionally and also translate it into its own structures?

The means and methods used were: literature research and performance analyzes, artistic responses, scenic experiments, interviews and discussions with experts and artists, photo documentation and ethnography.


The outcome of this phase was a broad collection of insides, ideas, scenic materials and texts that in a further step will be processed by the Berlin based theatre group Theater.Macht.Staat. The research also influenced the group's theatre music duo Kinbom & Kessner with their third studio album "Anthropos". Watch a preview here:



Supported by GVL Neustart Kultur

Supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the

Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media