Optimizing the Human Brain

Theatre and science project

Neuro-technological operations of the brain target the organic locus of our consciousness and identity, which, in turn, has fundamentally shaped how we view ourselves. It is understandable that this sensitive procedure is as controversial as the study of the human genome.
Although new neurological discoveries and innovations in neuro-technology have made great strides toward improving the human condition, the possibilities of these advances have confronted our society with new ethical challenges and issues. Neuro-technological procedures are primarily used for therapeutic purposes at the moment, yet they also provide us the ability to optimize human performance. We have to ask ourselves what the limits of improvement are and what we mean by "improvement". What kind of human image do we wish to choose as our ideal and how significant a role does the brain play in our human existence?
The project "Optimizing the Human Brain" posed these questions to a young target audience. The Theater Freiburg has developed a unique cooperative project with the Interdisciplinary Ethics Center at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg which combined socially relevant issues from the fields of medicine and ethics. Over a period of nine months, sixty young people worked together with international scientists and artists to examine the ethical dimensions of "optimizing the human brain". This was followed by a research phase in which they investigated the scientific fundamentals regarding "brain-machine interfaces", "deep brain stimulation", "brain doping", "visions and utopias of thinking" and "cyborg fantasies". The results were presented at an international congress at which scholars and scientists from around the world were speaking. A theatre production based on the theme of cyborgs was produced at the Theater Freiburg.

Artistic director: Barbara Mundel
Scientific director: Prof. Dr. Giovanno Maio
Participating artists and scientists: Prof. Dr. Aertsen, Emma Jordan & Gary Joplin, Uta Bittner, Prof. Dr. Nikkhah, Andreas Liebmann, Dr. Joachim Boldt, Prof. Dr. Berger, Tanja Krone, Tobias Eichinger, Prof. Dr. Weiller, Enrico Stolzenburg, Dr. Nicolas Eschenbruch, Frank Pauly, Marcus Lobbes, Dr. Oliver Müller

Schedule and venue:
18/19 April 2009 Congress "Pimp your brain" with performances, lectures, discussions at the Theater Freiburg
1 November 2009 Theatre premiere


Theater Freiburg

Bertoldstraße 46

79098 Freiburg im Breisgau

www.theater.freiburg.de (external link, opens in a new window)