META 2020


May 22 2020 – May 24 2020

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The Answer to the Great Question... Of Life, the Universe and Everything... Is... Forty-two,' said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm. 

- Douglas Adams

Once a year, the META MARATHON brings together digital masterminds, artists, researchers and creative minds at the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf. In its third edition, from 22.5 to 24.5.2020, it is dedicated to the topic of CYBORGS from various perspectives. 

For 42 hours (non-stop!) the myth, narrative, reality and vision of the cyborg are emotionally broken up, cognitively negotiated and physically experienced. The dissolution of the self's boundaries via the body's own and external technologies is just as much a part of the creative debate as questions about organic and group-dynamic enhancers.

As an innovative festival format, the META MARATHON creates wide spaces for dialogue and exchange, for individual and collective experiences on over 2000 square metres. The way is the home straight: We speak, dance, sing, wrangle, laugh and cry, sleep, eat, tinker, play, drink, wave, design, feel, smoke and dive. To make sure that all participants reach their goal alive after 42 hours, museum rooms are converted into dormitories where camp beds are available.  

This year's META MARATHON is curated by HeartWire, Laboratory for Experimental Heart Education, in collaboration with futurologist Daniel Schimmelpfennig. For the first time, the event will also be scientifically accompanied: As part of the Embodied Learning Lab 2 of the University of Cologne, Institute for Art and Art Theory, and in cooperation with the Grimme Institute, META 2020 will become festival-as-research.  

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A cyborg is a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction.
-Donna J. Haraway

The META MARATHON consists of 4 tracks, which approach the cyborg from different angles - and thus try to lift them away from the usual, narrow tech narrative.

Starting in mid-November, we'll be releasing our program here bit by bit. Among others Moon Ribas and Jan Claas Van Treeck from Cyborg e.V. will be there!


Track 1 // Inner Cyborg 

Our body is an unknown high-performance machine, our mind can go beyond its own "limits" - at least if we really want it to. In the track Inner Cyborg, all the technologies that we already carry, that we sharpen and from which we can draw are negotiated and made experienceable. Get to know the cyborg potential in you - completely without implants or complex apparatus!   


Track 2 // Technical Cyborg  

Open doors with a chip under your skin or leave your own body behind in the VR: The track Technical Cyborg offers you the possibility to extend your biological limits by technical modifications (e.g. surgical interventions / implants), external devices (e.g. VR glasses or prostheses) or other inorganic hardware and to get to know them. We invite you on a journey into the near future! 

Track 3 // Social Cyborg 

Man, man! The track Social Cyborg deals with the potentials that arise when people come together with people (and technologies). From gambling to gawking to playing to dancing to making a fire together: How can we (consciously) expand our own individual boundaries by meeting other people? And when does the much-sung magic actually emerge in these spaces?


Track 4 // Organic Cyborg  

Learning through biofeedback, enhancement through food, delimitation through psychedelic substances: The track Organic Cyborg is all about people returning to their natural environment. Living system meets living system - but what results from these symbioses? In this track, insights into plants and animals are just as much at home as insights into one's own body: the main thing is that we live!

Anna Porträt
Marie Porträt


 Anna Mauersberger is an experience designer, creative producer and ontological coach working at the intersection of personal growth, arts, technology and social activism. In 2018, she co-founded the educational organisation HeartWire, aiming at innovating the way we teach and learn about the world. HeartWire designs collective-subjective-experiences and social interactions for teenagers and adults that do not only address their heads, but also their emotions, bodies and souls. Inner change precedes outer change, both on the individual as well as the collective level – this is Anna’s firm belief. While she dives deep into the psychological dimensions of the human experience in her one-to-one coaching sessions, she has never lost her taste for work that is accessible and entertaining for broad audiences, always embedding deeper layers of meaning for those willing to see them. Anna studied political sciences in Bayreuth, Lille and Grenoble, has worked in creative industries for five years (for the German film and television production company UFA) and trained as Coach in Chile, Peru and Germany. To her, understanding „the cyborg“ is yet: another possibility of understanding the Self. 



Anselm Maria Sellen feels that it is time for everything new. He is an educational artist suffering from serious mind expansion and human growing pains. He likes short sentences. Together with Anna Mauersberger, Anselm founded the educational organisation HeartWire for which he is busy curating and realizing transformational projects with and for (young) human beings who are fed up with their zombiesque lives. Anselm strongly believes that there lies great individual and collective freedom in the stories we are able to imagine, share and live into. Thus, he became a widely underestimated author of HD non-fiction short stories featuring his past present and future as well as his four kids. In his podcast(s) Anselm wonders about the ways we learn about the world and (re)considers the possibilities of holistic teaching approaches acknowledging mind, body and emotions as equal, fundamental parts of any true learning experience. For Anselm the Cyborg Narrative is an artistic as well as a playful state of mind that needs to be explored and evolved. Anselm has studied (Black) American Literature, Dave Chappelle and political sciences and is currently leading the international foundation Europahaus Marienberg dedicated to bringing young Europeans together in new storyliving environments.


Research Partner

Marie Schwarz (B.Sc.) works and studies at the University of Cologne and is freelance editor and medical advisor. Her transdisciplinary research focuses on embodied concepts of intelligence and related practices in science, art and education under post-digital conditions. Since 2018 she has been working with Heartwire in a joint project called Embodied Learning Lab funded by Grimme-Forschungs-Kolleg (under the direction of Prof. Torsten Meyer, University of Cologne, and Wolfgang Zielinski, Grimme Institute Marl), developing a research setting on how embodied forms of learning can be initiated and investigated. At Meta Marathon 2020, the Embodied Learning Labwill be present in the form of a real laboratory – a festival as research. 



We have a great house with lots of great rooms and in it we have stages and spotlights. We want to share and fill all this with you: with your visionary ideas, your innovative projects, the great visions that have taken possession of your thoughts and actions. Because in the end we are all the META MARATHON. Participants are speakers and vice versa!

Submit your themes now to our Call for Participation and create the META MARATHON 2020 with us and other international artists. We are especially pleased about submissions in the areas: 

  • Artefacts of the future  
  • Workshops, performances and installations (all tracks)
  • Night program with cyborg reference (e.g. digital games, table top games, short films, short stories / readings, live music, DJ sets and all kinds of other entertaining ideas for the sleepless man-machines among us) 

There are no prohibitions on thinking - on the contrary: The Cyborg myth is as deep, wide and diverse as our species itself. Submissions as a group (collective) are just as possible as several submissions by the same person.

Please submit your contribution to us by December 31st using the following form only - the form is in english, you are also welcome to text in German.

If we decide for your contribution, you will become part of the Meta Marathon Family, hurray! 

That means:   

  • You get two META Tickets (for you and one person of your choice)
  • We cover the cost of your arrival (within reasonable limits) as well as your meals on site.
  • We take over your production costs (according to our possibilities and in coordination with you) and / or pay you an expense allowance (according to our possibilities and in coordination with you). Money should NOT be your first concern, the META Marathon is a matter close to our hearts! 
  • We include you in our online program - and of course in all communicative activities around the Meta Marathon 2020.
  • We guarantee you a quiet place to sleep in the house (although we all live here together, please adjust to it.... - and yes: There are showers!)


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