The perfect human being

Presentations, discussions

Sat, Apr 30, 2005
12 noon
Free admission

English and German with simultanous translation

Bodily perfection is not an end in itself. People instrumentalise their bodies in order to become "better" human beings. By which social norms does perfectionism orient itself? What makes these norms so attractive? And to what extent are ideals of beauty tied to specific cultural circles in an age of global communication? Which visual symbols and formats do art and media use to present "beauty"? Do they thereby contribute to the standardisation of ideals? Questions like this will be posed in the presentations and subsequently discussed in a panel.


from 12 p.m. every hour the short film

Det Perfekte menneske / The Perfect Human Being

Director: Jorgen Leth, DK 1967, 13 min., English original

2 p.m. Interactive presentation

Beauty Check. The construction of the ideal face

Martin Gründl, Psychologist, Chair for Experimental and Applied Psychology, University of Regensburg

3 p.m. Presentation

Darwin's Aesthetics - biological basics of beauty

Karl Grammer, Professor of Behavioural Research, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Urban Ethnology, Vienna

4 p.m. Presentation

Manufacturing Beauty - Imagining Beauty in the Age of Aesthetic Surgery

Sander Gilman, Professor of Germanic Studies and Medical Historian, The University of Illinois at Chicago

5 p.m. You must change your life

Ideals of beauty in TV and Internet

Joan Kristin Bleicher, Professor for media, culture and journalism, Hamburg

6 p.m. Panel discussion

Rette sich wer kann - Beauty in the era of reproducibility

Katharina Trebitsch (TV producer), Doreet LeVitte Harten (curator), Jim Rakete (Photographer), Sander L. Gilman

Moderation: Friederike Grothe, Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Medien, Köln

"The sharp contrast made between human beings and machines is a thing of the past. Two trends are becoming apparent: one is related to the disappearance of the flesh and celebrates spirituality as a sign of goodness. The other views the human body as a machine. Although these positions seem to contradict one another at first sight, they are, in fact, complementary, since they invest new meaning in the polarity: body and soul." (Doreet LeVitte Harten)