Schering Stiftung


Nicole Ottiger: Third Person, Nr. 3, 2011 (Video Ergo Sum Series).
Zeichnung / Bleistift auf Papier 1.5 x 1m.

Nicole Ottiger: Third Person, Nr. 3, 2011 (Video Ergo Sum Series). Zeichnung / Bleistift auf Papier 1.5 x 1m.

Becoming Myself

How Does the Self Come into Being?

Nicole Ottiger: Third Person, Nr. 3, 2011 (Video Ergo Sum Series). Zeichnung / Bleistift auf Papier 1.5 x 1m.

Becoming Myself

How Does the Self Come into Being?

Consciousness and the development of the ‘self’ are perhaps the essential traits of what makes us humans. But how exactly does human consciousness arise? What factors are involved in the constitution of an identity of self? And what role does the process of perception, as well as the social environment, play in the development and formation of human consciousness?

The audience is warmly invited to a Science Café to discuss these and other questions with neuroscientist Olaf Blanke, anthropologist Kristina Musholt, and artist and art therapist Nicole Ottiger.

Moderator: Stephanie Rohde


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Olaf Blanke is Bertarelli Foundation Chair of Cognitive Neuroprosthetics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), where he directs the Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience at Geneva's Campus Biotech. He founded and directed EPFL’s Center for Neuroprosthetics and is Adjunct Professor at Geneva University Hospital. Blanke’s research focuses on the neuroscience of consciousness and embodiment, human augmentation and personalized medicine. Blanke pioneered robotics and virtual reality technology in neuroscience of consciousness studies and cognitive psychology. His medical-translational activities are dedicated to preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and devices in neurodegenerative disorders (Parkinson’s disease, Dementia), mental health and well-being. Blanke is co-founder of Metaphysiks Engineering and member of the board of Mindmaze.


Kristina Musholt has been Professor of Cognitive Anthropology at the Institute of Philosophy at the University of Leipzig since 2015, as well as a board member and research group leader at the Leipzig Research Centre for Early Childhood Development. She studied human biology, neuroscience and philosophy at the universities of Marburg, Magdeburg and Naples and received her PhD in 2011 with a thesis on the development of self-consciousness at HU Berlin. Before coming to Leipzig, she researched and taught at the London School of Economics and the University of Magdeburg. She was a member of the Junge Akademie from 2014-2019. Her research is at the intersection of philosophy, psychology and cognitive science and is mainly concerned with the nature and development of awareness of ourselves in social interaction with others. She is also interested in questions of moral psychology, the role of education and the relationship between human and animal cognition.



Nicole Ottiger is a Swiss-British artist, researcher, and art psychotherapist. She received her PhD from the University of Plymouth, focusing on self-representation at the intersection of visual art and neuroscience. She researches and reflects on "kind(s) of knowledge" acquired in art-based, experimental research at the interface of art and science, and the artworks created in the process. She argues that a wealth of inherent knowledge emerges from the use of art as a visual method.



In cooperation with Union der deutschen Akademien der Wissenschaften. Media partnership: taz, die tageszeitung.

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