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At the Table – Narratives on the Technological, the Imagined and the Dead Body

A dialogue installation in five acts by Mobile Academy Berlin as part of the Episodes of the South project by the Goethe-Institut.

The project assembles narratives of the ongoing conglomeration between bodies and implantations, between humans and devices, of the interfaces between the human body with artefacts and different technologies.
Experts from different disciplines take a seat at the table and tell of the transformative potential – through technology and fictions – of our bodies.

Technological modifications to and transformations of the body seem sensible and legitimate whenever they have a therapeutic or socially integrative character, for example a cardiac pacemaker, a set of dentures, or a leg prosthesis. Nevertheless, the question inevitably arises as to where the boundary needs to be drawn regarding this selfreshaping. At what point should the problems of resources and social justice take priority over the right to self-optimization? Does – ultimately – the desire for self-transformation correspond to the logic of a global ideology of growth that fantasizes itself into an intricately networked, neoliberal, appallingly unjust, militarized future? Or can we imagine fantastic techno-bodies, cyborgs, which propagate recognition of difference and are able to coalesce machines, the organic, desire, and the imagination?

Experts from different disciplines take a seat at the table and tell of the transformative potential – through technology and fictions – of our bodies.

We begin with the dead, the bodies forgotten and unidentifiable, in which our future lies buried. This is followed by dialogues on bodies with disabilities which challenge our technological and social possibilities. And we end with the desires for and the imagining of bodies that are on the threshold of something different, a nascent form of existence that potentially fuses with other humans, animals, gods, and machines.

Take a seat at the table. Or take part in the image karaoke and let us interpret those inexplicable images of bodies together.

A concept developed by Hannah Hurtzig in 2004, Mobile Academy Berlin stages performances and meeting places for exchanging and generating knowledge, in rotating collaboration with other scientists, theorists, artists and animals. Via performative installations, conventional gestures of knowledge transfer are put up for renegotiation, either in dialogues or in both old and new formats of the assembly. Each project is dedicated to a specific theme, which is performed and documented as a live event that is then available in various archives.

Episodes of the South is a project initiated by the Goethe-Institut in cooperation with Sesc which reflects metaphoric, cultural, social, historic and political dimensions of the so called ‘South’.

Round 1 - The narration of the bones: The body as a mnemonic device
Dialogue with: Clara Ianni & Luiz Fontes

Round 2 - The 2006 Disability Act and the 2010 Anti-Inclusion Manifesto - How the right to imperfection is challenging society
Dialogue with: Marta Almeida Gil & Estela Lapponi

Round 3 - Deep Brain Stimulation II: Neural prostheses for depression
Dialogue with: Christian Dunker & Erich Fonoff

Round 4 – Shamanism as a Technology of the Body: How to approach virtual worlds, information, and inter-species relationship
Dialogue with: Fabiane M. Borges & Laymert Garcia dos Santos

Round 5 – Current speculations and anticipations on a future body
Dialogue with: Laerte Coutinho & Amara Moira

Download Symbol Programme (PDF, 498 KB)

Clara Ianni



Clara Ianni is an artist whose work uses several medias such as video, installation, intervention, sculpture and texts. Her research focuses on the relationship between art and politics, exploring its ideological implications.

Benjamin Seroussi



Benjamin Seroussi is the director of Casa do Povo and curator at Vila Itororó. These projects focus on developing cultural institutions based on collective management techniques, in a close dialogue with wider urban issues.

Estela Lapponi



Estela Lapponi creates authorial works in contemporary dance, performance and visual arts. In 2010 she wrote the ANTIINCLUSION Manifesto.

Marta Almeida Gil



Marta Almeida Gil has set up the Saci network of information, whose aim is to develop the knowledge necessary to understand the extent and nature of the varying disabilities affecting so many people.

Rodrigo Maltez Novaes

Visual artist, designer, and translator


Rodrigo Maltez Novaes heads the long-term project of the translation and publication of Vilém Flusser’s work from Brazilian-Portuguese into English.

Erich Fonoff

Neurologist, researcher


Erich Fonoff is Associate Professor in the Neurology Department at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of São Paulo. His current work is based on functional neurosurgical treatment for neuropsychiatric diseases and the anatomical and physiological mapping of the nervous system.

Victor Rossetto Barboza



Victor Rossetto Barboza works with deep brain stimulation (DBS) in cases of epilepsy, pain in traumatic spine lesion and Parkinson’s disease.

Rita Wu

Artist, designer and programmer


Rita Wu explores the relation among body, space and technology, investigating the expansion that technology can bring to our space perception through wearable interfaces.

Christian Ingo Lenz Dunker



Christian Ingo Lenz Dunker is professor at the Department of Clinic Psychology at the Institute of Psychology of the University of São Paulo. His research centers on clinical psychoanalysis of Lacanian orientation and its relations to Language Sciences and Philosophy.

Fabiane M. Borges

Essayistin und Künstlerin


Fabiane M. Borges has a PhD in clinical psychology. Her research focuses on Space-art, art and technology, shamanism, performance and subjectivity.

Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz

Writer, art critic, translator and researcher


His field of research is Latin American Studies. Alongside Suely Rolnik, Amilcar Packer and Pedro Cesarino, he coordinates the P.A.C.A. (Program for Autonomous Cultural Action).

Amara Moira

Writer, transgender prostitute and activist


She is the author of the blog What if I was a Prostitute , in which she writes about her experience as a prostitute, and raises questions related to transphobia and prostitution.

Laerte Coutinho

Cartoonist and caricaturist


At age 57, Laerte Coutinho started gender transitioning, opening a profound discussion on gender identity in Brazil.

Marcia Tiburi

Philosopher and writer


Marcia Tiburi has a PhD in Philosophy and is a professor at Mackenzie University. She has written several books on philosophy, biopolitics, aesthetics and ethics.

Luiz Roberto de Oliveira Fontes



He is both a doctor of Obstetrics/Gynecology and Forensic Anthropology. His interest lies in diagnosing the cause and the approximate time of death, and the human identification in cases that are hard to solve by conventional methods.

Laymert Garcia



Professor at Unicamp, he was the Director of São Paulo’s Biennial Foundation (2009-2010). He is active primarily in the following disciplines: biotechnology, technology and contemporary art. He currently coordinates the Laboratory of Culture and Network Technology.

Conceived and organized by Goethe-Institut São Paulo | Mobile Akademie | Sesc