Umbrella Research Theme (1999-2011)

Experimentalization of Life

"Experimentalization of life" designates a process that began in Europe around 1800 to reconfigure science, art, and technology. After experimental physiology had established itself as one of the paradigmatic disciplines of the nineteenth century, psychology and linguistics also became laboratory-based enterprises. Experimental cultures emerged thereafter in a variety of places, as for example in literary movements relying on automatism, aleatorics, and combination. New media such as photography and film transformed the fine arts and the sciences. Cities became vast fields of experience in which people undertook all sorts of experiments in living.

This project investigated the experimentalization of life with a focus on the material culture of instruments, buildings, and supply technologies. In a "Virtual Laboratory," relevant source materials as well as results of ongoing research work were made accessible online. Further information can be found on the "Virtual Laboratory" project microsite (