Berlin, 25 Oct. The Metabolism of the Social Brain symposium

September 12th, 2014

25 – 26 October 2014
Akademie der Kunst
Hanseatenweg 10, 10557 Berlin ‎
VSP → Facebook event



The idea of collective mind is as old as the most ancient cultures and systems of thought. Yet only today the picture of a collective intelligence is easily exemplified by the networks of digital communication and scientific cooperation. Information technologies represent indeed the most direct incarnation of the nervous system of the planet, and so also the best example of anextended mind. Neuroscientists themselves started to investigate the mind as something expanded beyond the limits of the brain, that always interacts with a multitude of media and cognitive tools. The collective mind as a social entity has had an important role across the history of political thought too: from Spinoza to the visionary figure of the general intellect of the multitude at the core of cognitive capitalism, the social brain is the political protagonist of a new conflict.

Indeed the plasticity of the brain, or neuroplasticity, has become also synonymous of the cognitive flexibility request by contemporary capitalism to labour. “What should we do so that consciousness of the brain does not purely and simply coincide with the spirit of capitalism?”, has asked Catherine Malabou. Nevertheless the symposium wants to instigate also a reflection on scientific research beyond Eurocentric rationalization, exploring forms of cross-cultural psychiatry and issues of appropriation in postcolonial contexts. The symposium is an effort to deliberate on the different trajectories through which so-called ‘psychopathologies’, related to postcolonial societies or expressed by non-Western peoples in Western societies, could be understood.

Within the context of The Ultimate Capital is the Sun exhibition at NGBK and in a dialogue with the arts, the symposium The Metabolism of the Social Brain will attempt to investigate the political and aesthetic issues related to the age of neurosciences, to the rise of neuroculture and the need of a new neuropolitics.


An event by neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK) in cooperation with Akademie der Künste Berlin in the framework of Schwindel der Wirklichkeit. Part of the nGbK exhibition The Ultimate Capital is the Sun.

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