Foto: Nina Konarzewski

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April 18, 2009
Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany

Check-in 19.30 Uhr

The second BLACKMARKET-Copyleft was held in Freiburg and took place in the framework of the interdisciplinary Art/Science Project «PIMP YOUR BRAIN - The Optimization of the Human Brain», a collaboration between the Theater Freiburg, the Institute of Medical Ethics and Medical History of the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg and several High schools in Freiburg.

Mobile Academy Licence© No. 2/2009

«Super-Human, Trans-Human, Post-Human: The Art of Becoming Better»

Medical and neurotechnological interventions in the brain are considered particularly problematic because they intrude into the organic «seat» of self-consciousness, into «mental/spiritual» assets – the human being’s individuality and identity – and thereby touch fundamentally upon human self-understanding. Questions about the limits of accessibility to the human brain – based on advances in the neurosciences, one of the major themes for the future – are raised today primarily on the neurotechnological and pharmacological level. Even if these neurotechnological procedures apply or should apply primarily to therapeutic use, potential applications become apparent that – beyond therapy – serve to improve human performance capabilities. Enhancements of motor, sensory, and mental skills become thinkable. These new, controversial possibilities are discussed in the bioethics debate under the title of «neuroenhancements». This poses some weighty ethical challenges to society: As with the human genome, access to the brain is contentious because it can signify a fundamental «change», «re-figuration», and perhaps even «manipulation» of the human. It raises questions about the goals and limits of the «constructibility» of the human, as well as about what «design» we wish to give ourselves. In order to make young people, whose future will be affected by these new possibilities, aware of these questions and problems, the Institute of Medical Ethics and Medical History and Theater Freiburg are running a collaborative project on the question of «Gaining Access to the Brain». The goal of the project is to draw youth through both scientific and artistic means to examine this problem, in order to develop an awareness of bioethical dilemmas, and to ground a sensitization to these issues within society at an early date.

The talks offered in the BLACKMARKET - copyleft dealt with the development of mankind and society. The question of the «how» seems to be a driving basis for the human when seeking for a better understanding of the world, of life – no matter if on a molecular level or in a philosophical world theory. It reflects the constant human desideratum for becoming «better». Few would disagree that «becoming better» seems to be generally desirable and «good» – but also, few would not stress the contradictory point that lays within this idea of «better». The possible meanings and implications of this «how to become better» depends very much on one's beliefs and knowledge. «Becoming better» seems to be not only continuous but also disputatious incitement of human activity, that constantly induces men to change, develop, transform oneself. Despite the possible moral and ethical abyss' «better» seems to led mankind to a point where we leave former blueprints of «being human» beyond. The Freiburg BLACKMARKET - Copyleft tended to collect various details and perspectives on the idea of «better» in general, hoping that from the sum of the talks a bigger image of the human desire of enhancement would evolve.


Fotos: Nina Konarzewski

Full program only in german - sorry!