Salon at the Komische Oper Berlin
Photo: Jan Windszus Photography
May 03, 2021, 7:30–9 p.m.
It will be announced in due time whether the salon will take place at the Komische Oper Berlin or digitally.
The right to be forgotten is a topic that has been around since before the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). But is it actually that simple? How does one delete one’s data and footprint in the (digital) world? Are we instead not constantly being asked to remember our own history?
The human brain is not that different from the Internet: In our heads, too, old knowledge lingers obstinately, and we permanently need to forget automatisms that we have become fond of and replace them with new ones. Are we even capable of forgetting or is it really more a matter of blocking the retrieval of information? But then again: How permanent are the physiological and digital storage options? Isn’t the half life of a digitally saved manuscript much shorter than that of an analog book? And do these limited digital memory capacities perhaps influence our cultural memory, or even the memory power of our brain? What remains of life – without cultural memory? And is or was theater perhaps the most transitory and fleeting storage medium ever?
Aleida Assmann is a literary and cultural studies scholar. She studied English literature and Egyptology in Heidelberg and Tuebingen, was Professor of English and Literary Studies at the University of Konstanz from 1993 until 2014, and held numerous visiting professorships both in Germany and abroad. Together with her husband Jan Assmann, she received the Balzan Prize 2017 for their research on cultural memory and the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels in 2018. Her most recent publications are Formen des Vergessens (2016); Menschenrechte und Menschenpflichten: Schlüsselbegriffe für eine humane Gesellschaft (2018); and Der europäische Traum: Vier Lehren aus der Geschichte (2018).
Nikolai Axmacher studied philosophy at the Freie Universität Berlin and medicine at the Charité Berlin, where he earned his doctorate in 2005 at the Institute of Physiology. From 2004 until 2011, he was a clinical researcher at the Department for Epileptology at the University Hospital Bonn and in 2009 concluded his habilitation in cognitive neurosciences. Since 2011, he has directed an Emmy Noether group on epileptology and a junior scientist group at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn. In 2014 he was appointed professor of neuropsychology at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB). Nikolai Axmacher is an appointed member of the Memory Disorders Research Society, advisory board member of the Transfaculty Research Platform Molecular and Cognitive Neurosciences (MCN) at the University of Basel, and board member of the Research Department of Neuroscience at Ruhr-Universität Bochum.
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