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Bernstein Network Arts Call

On Display – An Artistic View on Computational Neuroscience. Science and Society Session at the Bernstein Conference 2018, Berlin

How does our brain process information? How do we learn and remember? How can computer models simulate the processes in our brain? These are the questions tackled by computational neurosciences, a research field comprising many scientific disciplines reaching from mathematics, physics, biology, medicine to engineering and psychology. Under the slogan “On Display – An Artistic View on Computational Neuroscience / Auf dem (Bild)schirm: Computational Neuroscience im Blickwinkel der Kunst”, the Bernstein Network Computational Neuroscience seeks to build a bridge to the general public with a Science and Society Session at the annual Bernstein Conference 2018 in Berlin.

Artists are invited to approach cutting-edge research questions in computational neuroscience from an artistic perspective. Ideally, this will also reflect back on the scientific community’s own frame of reference. The artistic approach should spark a dialogue about philosophical, ethical and socio-cultural aspects of computational neuroscience. This could entail the elaboration of opportunities and threats of brain-computer interfaces, neurorobotics, autonomous cars, intelligent networks, artificial intelligence or big data.

Artists are entirely free in their innovative concepts and not restricted to any particular technique. We welcome ideas in the field of visual art, digital art or hybrid art containing analogous, digital or biomedical forms – provided the final artistic involvement contains interactive elements.

This call is open to artists internationally.

The project

The artist gets in touch with one, two or more research groups of the Bernstein Network to get a grasp of their scientific approach. The aim of the project is to generate a productive mutual exchange of ideas and perspectives between the artist and the researchers in the Bernstein Network. If requested, the Bernstein Coordination Site (BCOS) will be happy to assist in finding a suitable match for the artist’s ideas.

The selected artist should develop a piece of art, which will be showcased at the Bernstein Conference 2018 in Berlin (September 25-28, 2018) and s/he will commit her/ himself to actively participate in a panel discussion together with the participating researchers as well as experts from art history, philosophy and ethics. The artist should be present for the entire duration of the Bernstein Conference and engage with members of the general public, the press as well as the scientific delegates.

Jury/ Organizing Committee

The jury consists of members of the Bernstein Network as well as experts in science and art history who are experienced with bridging art and science. 

  • Joerg Fingerhut
    Berlin School of Mind and Brain, the Einstein Group "Consciousness, Emotions, Values", Berlin; Association of Neuroaesthetics
  • Michael John Gorman
    Founder of Science Gallery Dublin, Founding Director of Biotopia Naturkundemuseum Bayern, Professor at the University of Munich
  • Benedikt Grothe
    Professor of Neurobiology, University of Munich; Bernstein Network
  • Daniel S. Margulies
    The NeuroBuero; Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig; Association of Neuroaesthetics
  • Jens Hauser 
    Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen
  • Ingeborg Reichle
    Professor at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna
  • Alexandra Stein
    Bernstein Coordination Site, Bernstein Network Computational Neuroscience

We offer

  • An opportunity for mutual exchange with scientists and other researchers.
  • € 7.000 award money including the budget for material and travel expenses.
  • Access to the labs.
  • Access to lectures and talks.
  • Access to the respective libraries on site and scientific articles.
  • 50 free copies of the final print publication of the project.


We expect

  • Applicants should be fluent in English.
  • Applicants will take care of their VISA to Germany (if applicable).
  • The final piece of art must be finished by the end of June 2018.
  • The artist must purchase the required material her/ himself.
  • The artist is required to document the work process and provide input about her/ his ideas behind the project once it’s finished. Possible forms of communication are podcasts, tweets, pictures or video clips distributed through BCOS media channels in the run up to the Bernstein Conference 2018.


Each submission has to be made in English. It must include the following:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • A letter of motivation (max. 1 page)
  • A selected portfolio showing significant works
  • An outline of the idea the artist wishes to pursue. The submitted idea must already reflect the direction of the project in terms of theme, artistic technique and the interactive element(s). (approx. 1 page)

Closing date for applications: August 31, 2017 
Applications must be submitted electronically with all required documents to

Your contacts

  • Dr. Alexandra Stein
    Head of Bernstein Coordination Site
  • Dr. Claudia Duppé
    Press and Public Relations

Bernstein Network Computational Neuroscience | Bernstein Coordination Site (BCOS)
Branch Office of the Forschungszentrum Jülich
at the University of Freiburg
Hansastr. 9A 
79104 Freiburg

If you intend to send something through the post, please beforehand.


Applications will be evaluated by the jury.
The selected artist will be announced mid-October 2017.

NOTE: The reception of each application will be confirmed by email. All documents and material provided in addition to the electronic version cannot be returned.


  • Schering Association
  • Bernstein Association for Computational Neuroscience e.V.
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