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.
What improvement means for the individual depends on both individual knowledge background and beliefs. The Blackmarket was interested in this perspective on human improvement as part of the project Optimizing the Human Brain at the Theater Freiburg. Audio Archive:23
Diretion: Philipp Hochleichter
Assistence: Sascha Flocken
Research: Boris Eßmann
Hostesses: Anja Lindner, Claudia Bach, Linda Roth, Katrin König, Ralph Bingger, Christina Herbers, Davidis Stickel, Lena Hahner, Elena Strempek, Kristina Bieda, Patrick Zebrowski
Voice: Bettina Grahs
Thanks go to the Departments of the Theater Freiburg.
The second BLACKMARKET 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.
Supported by: Kulturstiftung des Bundes