Homo Calculus

A story in 15 pictures

(as charcoal drawings on Finnish board, 100 x 70 cm each)

(as an artist book in edition of 200)

(as a picture recitation of 16 mins 30 sec duration)

homo1Panel I- A visit to Bodyworlds

homo2Panel II- The Dilemma

homo3Panel III- Calculating optimum amount of breastfeeding to reduce risk of cancer. Result: One year.

homo4Panel IV- Calculating cost of expenses of baby for the first year

homo5Panel V- Calculating alternative cost of insurance against risk of cancer

homo6Panel VI- Additional benefits of motherhood

homo7Panel VII- Cost-Benefit analysis

In an imaginary future after the financial crisis, the human brain has suffered evolutionary damage. The frontal lobes of the brain have disappeared and along with it mankind’s abilities for long term planning and sound decision making have also come to an end. The vacuum in the brain has caused the skull to cave in.

The protagonist of the story is a woman who comes to know that breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer. She does not have a child (as children also cost money) and consults a cost analyst to find the most efficient way to reduce the risk of cancer. Financial tabulations prove that it is cheaper to bear a child and breastfeed it for only one year and then dispose off the child, than to face probable medical expenses in the future which is rendered quite impossible to calculate due to the metastatic nature of cancer. A new medicine can help overcome pangs of guilt.

Homo sapiens have long been replaced by the Homo Economicus or the Homo Calculus – experts in cost-benefit analysis. Where to apply cost cutting? What is the cost of a baby? Is it sustainable? Comparison between cost and benefit is made in every phase of life. But despite the calculations, end results in real life are often completely different. Only the absurd confrontation of the Homo Calculus with the incalculability of life remains constant.

(The above selection of images presents the first seven chapters of the story.)

Homo Calculus has been published as an Artistbook (numbered edition of 200, 44 pages, single colour offset print, 15 images, 4 texts).

Essays by sociologist Prof. Dr. Ulrich Broeckling (The Preventive Imperative), oncologist Dr. med. Frederieke M. Perl (Women- Soft targets of the medical industry, Art historian Prof. Dr. Nils Buettner (Homo Calculus) and the calculation of an insurance policy specially against cancer by Prof. Dr. Hanno Gottschalk accompany the ficticious story of Homo Calculus which is narrated in 15 images.


first drawing

first text

symbol index

The book was presented at Literaturhaus Stuttgart accompanied with a podium discussion with Dr. Susanne Weber- Mosdorf (ex- general director of World Health Oragnisation), art historian Dr. Nils Buettner, the artist and sociologist Dr. Ulrich Bröckling.

Homocalculus 002a

Homocalculus 003a

Homocalculus 004a

Homocalculus 005a


This project was further developed in 2018 into a picture recitation format to be performed live with spoken word poetry and image projection. This oral-visual narration can also be experienced in a video format in the link below:

Video link of picture recitation