How Technology Complements Humans, and Where Its Limits Are

Symposium held to conclude the “Ich digi Du” exhibition in the CITEC Building

How can intelligent technical systems such as robots serve as a digital complement to humans? And what consequences does “living together” with technology hold for human identity? These questions inform the work of the five Ostwestfalian artists who are currently exhibiting at the “Ich digi Du” exhibition in the CITEC Building on Bielefeld University’s North Campus. To conclude the exhibition, researchers and artists came together to discuss the relationship between human and machine in the symposium “Robot-Human-Machine: Between Technology, Ethics, and Aesthetics” held on 31 January 2017.

Artist Angelika Höger’s machines try to solve their respective tasks – like this page turner, which is sometimes successful, and sometimes not. These machines can be seen at the “Ich digi Du” exhibition in the CITEC Building. Photo: CITEC/Bielefeld University  One of the symposium speakers was Professor Dr. Ipke Wachsmuth, an expert in artificial intelligence who led a research group at Bielefeld University’s Faculty of Technology until his retirement in 2014. His talk was titled  “Robots for Seniors – An Option for the Future? And the Ethical Aspects this Entails?!” Anne Koppenburger, from the Institut für Gesundheitsforschung und Bildung (Institute for Health Research and Education) at Osnabrück University spoke about the ethical issues in the charged interplay of health care and technology. Koppenburger is also a member of the artist collective “re_vision medienkollektiv.”

Diplom-designer Imke Brunzema, the initiator of this exhibition, also delivered a talk in which she reported on how artists from the region engage with the topic of robotics. In addition to this, she also discussed the possibilities – and limits – of art when it comes to developing new ideas and responses.

At the “Ich digi Du” exhibition, artist Angelika Höger showcased objects that played with ideas about failing communication, aging technology, and empathy. Höger showed symposium participants to her exhibition “Maschinen mit Eigen-Sinn” (Machines’ Sense of Self) on display in the alcove of the CITEC Building.

This exhibition was part of the thematic year “Body Culture: Beauty. Hygiene. Self-Image” at the museums of Ostwestfalen-Lippe. For the occasion of this thematic year, Imke Brunzema, from the art association “Die Gestalten,” together with Bielefeld University’s “teutolab-robotik” called upon artists from the region of Ostwestfalen-Lippe to depict their hopes and fears surrounding robotics and digitalization. Works from five artists were selected to be displayed at the exhibition in the CITEC Building.

“Ich digi Du” showcases the grand dreams and aspirations attached to the technologies of the past – and the future. Some of the machines in the art works are purely functional, while others behave in a human-like way, or follow a logic all their own. In their installations, films, and images, the artists also let themselves get inspired by the technological research conducted at Bielefeld University. The Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC) displayed the exhibition from October 2016 in its building. Beginning in February 2017, an encore exhibition of “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far” will be back for in the research building on North Campus. In this exhibition, photographer Janosch Boerckel depicts the technologies being developed and the research taking place at CITEC in a series of analog-film photographs.

More Information is Available Online at:

  • „Machines’ Sense of Self“ (Press release from 30 September 2016):
  • „teutolab-robotik“ Exhibition Information (in German):
  • CITEC news on the photo exhibition „The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far“:

Alicia Weirich, Bielefeld University,
Mitmach- und Experimentierlabor „teutolab-robotik“ (Hands-On and Experimental Lab „teutolab-robotics“)
Telephone: 0521 106-67108