27-10-2018, 13:00-1:00, Nes, Amsterdam

Rebellious thinkers and artists from the Netherlands and beyond share their insights on today’s most pressing questions, offer clarification in times of confusion and help create new frameworks for progress! In the historic inner city of Amsterdam, we’ll be thinking about narcissism and self-love, radical inequality, ideal images as the culprits of our time, visions of the future and dystopias, liberating algorithms, the flipside of authenticity and our post-capitalist culture.

A festival ticket grants you admission to some 100 talks and events held at more than 15 locations from 1pm till 1am. Allow yourself to be fascinated and inspired by the world’s most fabulous speakers giving talks in churches and theatres in Amsterdam´s city centre. The venues are: De Brakke Grond, the theatre of the Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Frascati, the Waalse Kerk, Zuiderkerk, Perdu, University theatre, Compagnietheater, Kapitein Zeppos and the Agnieten Chapel. In the run-up to the festival, additional related programmes will be held commencing 20th October.

We are proud to announce the international line-up at Brainwash Festival taking place on Saturday, the 27th of October 2018. Go to for a list in Dutch of all speakers confirmed to date.

Paul Mason: Bullshit jobs & Post capitalism

13:40 – 14:20, Zuiderkerk
Dislocation of the labour market by widespread automation, the multiplication of ‘bullshit jobs’ and hyperintelligent algorithms that know us better than we know ourselves. This will be our future if we don´t change our course fast, according to British economist Paul Mason. Time for a new post-capitalist system in which the economy is collaborative, based on self-management and basic income. Only then, can we escape the all-determining financial logic of neoliberalism.


Susan Blackmore: The Evolution and Future of A.I.

14:50 – 15:30, Zuiderkerk
It´s hard to get a good meme out of your head – and it spreads like wildfire among all your friends. The eccentric psychologist and physiologist Susan Blackmore contends that Darwin´s theory of evolution can be applied not only to memes, but also to technological ‘temes‘. According to her, Apps, tools and digital systems have their own reproductive urge and survival instinct. A warning against technology that uses and abuses us and may one day even destroy us.


Carl Cederström: The Tyranny of Happiness

17:10 – 17:50, Zuiderkerk
Carl Cederström is an advocate for a new conception of happiness. He demonstrates how our current ideal, based on the notion of freedom and self-development, holds us hostage and limits us. Among the factors that have contributed to our current notion of what happiness is are the flower power movement, psychoanalysis, consumer society and the American president Donald Trump. According to Carl Cederström – associate professor at Stockholm University, contributor to The Guardian and (co)author of several successful books – it’s high time we used our imagination to design and implement a new ideal.


George Monbiot: Social & Ecological Crisis

18:20 – 19:00, Zuiderkerk
Ecologist and activist George Monbiot is considered to be one of the most influential British thinkers of our time. In his view, thirty years of neoliberalism have broken the world. It is the cause of our social, ecological and political crises. Monbiot concludes that we need a new story, a new narrative to liberate society. He holds up a merciless mirror and suggests that it is above all the relationship with ourselves that we need to reinvent. Cheerful yet determined, Monbiot shows us how.


Julian Baggini: Truth Exists!

15:50 – 16:30, Compagnietheater
Julian Baggini – co-founder of The Philosophers’ Magazine – provides us with reassurance:  the truth does exist! At a time when we are swamped by fake news and politicians who blatantly deny facts, Baggini shows us various sources of truth. The British philosopher arms us against the rise of social media as news source and the growing distrust of facts. A discourse for all those who have had enough of post-truth, alternative facts and fake news.


Fabian Scheidler: Exit from the Megamachine

17:00 – 17:30, Compagnietheater
Fabian Scheidler brings to light the roots of the destructive forces threatening the future of humankind today. In a journey through 5,000 years of time he unravels the prehistory, formation and expansion of the modern world-system, showing how the logics of endless capital accumulation are leading both human societies and global eco-systems to the brink of collapse. The German historian and philosopher also higlights important traditions of resistance that progressive movements can build upon. Facing growing instability and chaos worldwide, a profound re-organization of our economic and polical system is inevitable – by design or by disaster.


Boris Konrad: An Eidetic Memory For Everyone

14:40 – 15:20, Compagnietheater
Boris Konrad unravels the wonderous capabilities and inner workings of our brains. This German neuroscientist will talk about what it is to remember, forget and how neural pathways grow by training the brain. He claims that having a good memory has nothing to do with genetic predisposition. Konrad will enlighten us on the Loci-method (which was used by ancient Greeks and Romans) and the science behind his own world-records. In 2015 Konrad managed achieve the incredible feat of remembering 215 names and faces in 15 minutes and 50 restaurant orders in four minutes.


Karim Benammar – Scarcity and Abundance

15:40 – 16:20, De Waalse Kerk
Scarcity, the feeling of never having enough, seems to be a fundamental value in our history and society, and for economics and ecology. What if we made a shift to thinking from a perspective of abundance instead? We can construct different strategies to deal with the natural world, with consumption society and economics. What new strategies can we use to chose in a situation of abundance? How do we make the shift from taking to giving?


Wolfram Eilenberger: The Intellectual Explosion

21:00 – 21:30, De Brakke Grond, rode zaal
Wolfram Eilenberger – chief editor of the German Philosophie Magazin from 2011 till 2017- talks about the lives and ideas of the biggest thinkers of the beginning of the last century. About the soaring popularity of Martin Heidegger and his love for Hannah Arendt. About the wandering Walter Benjamin, who goes to Paris in search of the roots of modern times. And about the genius and billionaire’s son Ludwig Wittgenstein who, while he was adored like a god in Cambridge, worked and lived in poverty in Austria. From their personal stories and thinking, the philosopher, author and journalist extracts a warning, but also great inspiration for the problems of our times.


Maurizio Montalti: The Plastic Future

16:20 – 17:00, De Brakke Grond, rode zaal
Which material will lead us out of the plastic era? Since its invention, plastic has conquered the world of packaging, toys, everyday products and even medical implants. But now our oceans risk clogging up with this virtually non-degradable material, it is high time to look ahead. Artist and researcher Maurizio Montalti is in pursuit of the material of the future. One of his favourites? Fungus! He joins philosopher Lisa Doeland in a conversation about the plastic soup and how we can escape the era in which plastic is the solution for everything. Moderation: Evanne Nowak.


Adeola Enigbokan: Love and Friendship in the city

16:10 – 16:50, Agnietenkapel
Love and friendship are important elements of the human life course, but they are often left out of consideration when policy makers try to determine what makes our cities “good” or “liveable.” How many potential new friends you think are out there? Artist and urbanist Adeola Enigbokan researches the meaning of friendliness. How important is it in our daily urban lives? How does design shape our ability to strangers turn into friends or lovers? Could we design more loving cities?