Hybrid Encounters. Art Meets Science - Thinking in Pictures

Neurobiologist Hannah Monyer meets comic artist Jens Harder.
Tobias Hülswitt will moderate the talk.

12th June 2019, 7 – 9 pm
Lichthof, TU Berlin ­­– Hauptgebäude, Straße des 17. Juni 135, 10623 Berlin

Panel discussion featuring comic book excerpts.

Free admission. The event will be held in German.

What questions does the brain researcher Hannah Monyer ask herself when she looks at a comic book? What processing mechanisms of the brain stimulate the award-winning comic artist Jens Harder in his work?

For thirty years Hannah Monyer has been researching different aspects of the phenomenon of memory. On June 12 she will meet Jens Harder in the Lichthof of the Technische Universität Berlin. The comic artist is currently working on one of four planned volumes of his illustrated history of evolution. Two volumes have already been released containing over 4000 images on more than 700 pages. The two protagonists are quite open to the respective other discipline: the neurobiologist’s doctoral dissertation focused in part on the author Marcel Proust and for many years Jens Harder has been exploring various scientific fields with a knowledge-based approach. Yet sequential art is as new to Hannah Monyer as the workings of human memory are to Jens Harder. For this reason it promises to be a fascinating event full of surprises, as both participants explore the enriching facets of the other discipline and take a closer look at specific aspects of artistic and neuronal perception.

From a neuroscientific perspective does it make a difference whether we acquire knowledge by reading texts or by viewing illustrated stories? Are images able to elicit different types of chains of associations? How does the author playfully utilize abstraction and what influence does this have on memory formation? What limitations are there to an abbreviated depiction of time from both an artistic and neuroscientific perspective? The conversation will examine these and other issues. In the course of the event impressions of Jens Harder’s work will be presented and discussed.

This is the fourth and final event of the “Hybrid Encounters” series organized by the Hybrid Plattform (an initiative of TU Berlin and UdK Berlin) and the Schering Foundation. Hybrid Encounters initiates dialogue between science and art. First-rate international quests from the realms of art and science encounter personalities whose artistic or scientific activities complement their own background.

Hannah Monyer is Medical Director of the Neurobiology Clinic in Heidelberg and researcher at the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum). For her work she has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize. The neurobiologist researches molecular mechanisms that trigger and influence synchronous neuronal network activities. The results of her work are thus focused on such cognitive processes as learning and memory.

Jens Harder is a comic artist and illustrator. He is well known for his monumental comic book series, the planned several volumes of which describe the history of evolution. For Alpha: Directions and Beta ... Civilisations Volume I he has received numerous national and international awards. He is currently working on the third part Beta ... Civilisations Volume II, which is scheduled to be released next year. In this trilogy he goes far beyond mere scientific illustration, utilizing a broad spectrum of cultural references and providing space for religion and myths within the scientific narrative.


The format »Hybrid Encounters« are organized and realized by Hybrid Plattform – a project platform of the Berlin University of the Arts and the Technische Universität Berlin – and Schering Stiftung.