Configurations between Science,
Art, and Technology

Research project carried out between 2000 and 2011

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»Experimentalization of life« designates a process that began in Europe around 1800 to reconfigure science, art, and technology. After experimental physiology had established itself as one of the paradigmatic disciplines of the 19th century, psychology and linguistics also became laboratory-based enterprises.

Experimental cultures emerged thereafter in a variety of places, as for example in literary movements relying on automatism, aleatorics, and combination. New media such as photography and film transformed the fine arts and the sciences. Cities became vast fields of experience in which people undertook all sorts of experiments in living.

The project investigated the experimentalization of life with a focus on the material culture of instruments, buildings and supply technologies. In a »Virtual Laboratory«, relevant source materials as well as results of ongoing research work were made accessible online.

Research Scholars and Projects

Dr. Julia Kursell
[bis 01/2011]
Historical Epistemology of Hearing (1850–2000). [more]
Dr. Henning Schmidgen
[bis 01/2011]
Chronos and Psyche: The History of Physiological and Psychological Time Experiments. [more]
Sandra Pravica
[bis 12/2010]
Tentative Transgressions. Gaston Bachelard's Experimental Epistemology. [more]
Christian Reiß
[bis 12/2012]
The Way to the Laboratory - Origin and Role of Organisms in Experimental Systems in Early Life Sciences. [more]
Viola van Beek
[until 06/2009]
Codes of Experimenting and Experimental Spaces. [more]
Philipp von Hilgers
[until 04/2008]
Mapping the Field of Vision. From Experimental Research of Reading to Pattern Recognition 1860-1960. [more]
Dr. Britta Lange
[until 09/2007]
A History of the "Typic". Scientific Researches in Warcamps from 1915 to 1918. [more]
Björn Brüsch
[until 06/2007]
The Experimentalization of Horticulture in Nineteenth-Century Germany: Peter Joseph Lenné and the Garden Institute in Wildpark/Potsdam. [more (in German)]
Katrin Solhdju
[until 12/2006]
Self-Experiments: Crossing the Borders between Science and Art, 1840-1920. [more (in German)]
PD Dr. Sven Dierig
[until 02/2006]
The Laboratory and the City. Urbanization, Industrialization, and the Place of Experiment in Nineteenth-Century Physiology. [more]
Philipp Felsch
[until 02/2005]
Laboratory Landscapes. The Alps as Medium of Physiology around 1900. [more]
Dr. Peter Geimer
[until 03/2004]
Graphical Systems (1830 - 1930). [more]
Margarete Vöhringer
[until 01/2004]
Psychotechnique and Russian Avantgarde. [more]
Julia Voss
[until 01/2004]
One Long Argument. The Images of the Darwinian debate. [more (in German)]


Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Rheinberger


Virtual Laboratory

List of project-related Publications


Hermann von Helmholtz Center for Culture and Technology, Humboldt University Berlin

Media Faculty, Bauhaus-University, Weimar

Center for the Research on Literature, Berlin

Funding Organisations

VolkswagenStiftung (Okt. 2000 - Sept. 2005)

Fritz Thyssen Stiftung and VolkswagenStiftung (Focus on the Humanities) (Nov. 2006 - Oct. 2011)