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29 Jun 2009

Ernst Schering Foundation presents Carsten Nicolai: rota

© Carsten Nicolai
Project sketch for rota
courtesy Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin and PaceWildenstein/ VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009

Carsten Nicolai: rota


July 3 through September 26, 2009
Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Free entrance

Note: rota uses stroboscopic light. Epileptics are advised not to visit the exhibition.


Unter den Linden 32-34
10117 Berlin

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By relocating to new premises at Unter den Linden 32-34, the Ernst Schering Foundation strengthens its operational activities and opens its own project space for exhibitions, lectures and workshops at the interface of art and science. The project space is conceived as a space for experimental and interdisciplinary approaches in the arts and sciences and reflects the programs and activities of the Ernst Schering Foundation. Since 2004, the Foundation has put an increased emphasis on the dialogue between disciplines. In addition to interdisciplinary lecture series and workshops, the space is primarily intended to provide a showcase for 'Art as Research.'

The project space will be opened with an exhibition entitled rota, by Carsten Nicolai. The work of the internationally renowned artist and musician is a perfect example of the goals of the Ernst Schering Foundation, which seeks to promote outstanding artistic positions and scientific research.

The work rota was commissioned by the Ernst Schering Foundation specifically for this project space. The installation, which sees itself as an experiment, deals with the effects of the so-called neuro-feedback on human perception. Taking his cues from the dreamachines or mind machines developed by Brion Gysin since the 1950s in the context of the Beatnik movement to alter the viewers' state of consciousness through the emission of alpha waves, Carsten Nicolai presents a test set-up, where visitors can experience for themselves how the brain responds to different visual (and acoustic) phenomena.

rota is a cylinder approximately 260 cm high and 170 cm in diameter, that rotates around its own axis and whose surface is perforated with a specially designed pattern. As cold light radiates from inside the cylinder, a stroboscopic effect is produced through the body's rotation. Depending on the rotation speed, there are different frequencies of pulsating light, which can also be transformed into acoustic information. According to scientific research, these impulses can directly affect the brain waves of the visitors and thus cause a neuronal feedback, which can produce different mental states – such as trance, hypnosis or meditation.

Ernst Schering Foundation

The non-profit Ernst Schering Foundation honors excellent accomplishments in the life sciences and in arts and culture. A special focus is on promoting talented young scientists and artists. Since 2006, the Foundation has also managed the Scheringianum, the company museum.

For more information, please call +49 (0) 30-2062 29 65 or send an e-mail to: