Prof. Dr. Thomas Fritz

WIEL Videoproduktion

Department of Neurology – Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences


Through learning we generate expectations about the effects of our actions. In music, for example, we talk about auditory-motor mapping – a mental representation of movements and their acoustic-musical effects. Such a mapping will for example help a musician to create sounds that correspond to their musical imagination. This coupling that we experience as „agency“ can have a strong influence on how we experience ourselves, among others our self-efficacy, how exhausting we perceive actions, and how fast or slow we perceive time to go by.

With the Self-Reflection-Machines, a series of devices that are a hybrid between art installations and scientific experiments the correlation of action and perception is specifically manipulated. In the process either new action-effect routines are established (e.g. during “Jymmin”, where participants play fitness machines like musical instruments), or previously learned routines are deliberately disturbed so that the perceived irritation enhances the experience of this routine (e.g. in the “Kaleidoscope of Time” where participants visually see representations of themselves from multiple time points in the recent past).

These installations are both used as experimental setups at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cogntive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, and as public laboratories in exhibitions/art shows. Here, when the visitors quit their passive observer role they can systematically experiment on themselves.