Course Offerings

Prof. Dr. Patricia Ribault


Brain Roads – Block Seminar / Workshop in Montpellier (France)

Brain Roads – Block Seminar / Workshop in Montpellier (France)

Like the sculptor with marble, neurosurgeons dialogues with the brain they operate on, they explore its inner plasticity. There lies today a tension between the analog and the digital. On the one hand, there is the analog experience of the practitioners, anchored in their savoir-faire acquired through years of experience, their fine-tuned mastery and even their intuition. On the other hand, there is the knowledge and perception delegated to digital devices, with their technical rationality, norms, precision, efficiency, and also their limits, as the situations they come across can be of unlimited complexity.

Mapping and representing “brain roads” can be achieved in different ways: through real-time dialogue with awake patients during surgery for example, as well as through various imaging devices and methods, which help the neurosurgeons extend their senses and their knowledge of the cerebral anatomy and activity.

Brain Roads is an interdisciplinary French-German project for visualization and interactive exploration of the brain. It brings together designers, engineers and researchers in neurosurgery and humanities. Its ambition is to develop visual representations and interactive tools for exploring the white matter of the human brain. It is part of the research project “Adaptive Digital Twin” (of the group “Cutting” at the Cluster of Excellence “Matters of Activity. Image, Space, Material” (MoA) (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin).

We wish to bridge the analog and the digital in a cooperation regime between the specific knowledge of some outstanding neurosurgeons, which we will try to translate into visual forms, and new representations of brain models, such as voxel-based animation, which allows us to explore dense, digitalized matter, and to visualize its changes of state, but also its zones of uncertainty.

For more information on previous iterations of the Brain Roads’ project:

Program of the block seminar

In this block seminar, which will be conducted in partnership with the Cluster MoA and the department of graphic and interactive design at École Supérieure d’Art et de Design in Reims (France), we will focus on one specific case-study: French neurosurgeon Hugues Duffau, who is Professor and Chairman at the Department of Neurosurgery of the Gui de Chauliac Hospital in Montpellier and Director of the Team "Brain plasticity, Human stem cells and Glial tumors" at the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM).

Duffau's operating mode is a complex mix of techniques, disciplines and experiments which is based on the concept of neuroplasticity, a limited use of medical imaging in the operating room, and on a dynamic mapping in real time of the different regions of the central nervous system. For this, he needs his patient to be awake and responsive, in order to get their feedback in real time and to operate in the most precise and efficient way possible.

Our objectives as a group will be to represent his specific modes of conceiving a surgery as well as his modes of visualizing the activity of the brain. For this, we will meet with him in Montpellier during a 3-day workshop either between January 22nd and 25th or between January 29th and February 1st (dates to be confirmed). We will attend an awake surgery, dialogue with Duffau, and produce a series of drawings, sketches, diagrams, representations of his activity.

Several preparatory sessions will be organized either in presence or online, with or without guests, in order for you to get familiar with his operating mode, with the milieu of neurosurgery, and with what is expected of you.

• A seminar in English, limited to 6 to 8 participants (tbc) in their second period (from 6th semester on).

• All students are expected to participate in the 3-day workshop in Montpellier and to present their findings at the end of March.*

• Dates: Fridays, 10 to 13.00 + 29/01 to 01/02/2023

• Place: Professoren Mensa, Zoom and CHU Montpellier

- Credits: 4

28th October, 10 to 12.00 (KHB): Presentation of the workshop by Patricia Ribault

11th November, 10 to 12.00 (KHB): Meeting with Olaf Avenati (to be confirmed)

25th November, 10 to 13.00 (online): General introduction by Patricia Ribault and Olaf Avenati (ESAD Reims)

2nd December, 10 to 13.00 (online): “What to expect in the operating room”, by neurosurgeon Thomas Picht

13th January, 16 to 18.00 (online): "The brain model", by neurosurgeon Hugues Duffau

20th January 2023, 10 to 13.00 (online): “Anatomy of the Brain and Functional Imagery”, by Lucius Fekonja, and “Drawing the Body: On the Presence of Artists in the Medical Wards”, by Didier Semin (tbc)

January 29th to February 1st: Workshop in Montpellier (including travel days)

9th February, 10 to 13.00: Online Debriefing with Olaf Avenati and Patricia Ribault

February — March 2023 (Friday mornings): 3 follow-up sessions (online or KHB) with Olaf Avenati and Patricia Ribault

End of March 2023: Final presentation at the Cluster MoA (tbc)

Wintersemester 2022/2023

2. Studienabschnitt

Location : Professorenmensa, D0.07

Number of participants : 0 (0)

Hours/week : 2

Credit Points : 4