Exercises in Existential Eccentricity

  • Conceptualising autoimmunity as a variation of the conditio humana
Article in Journal With Citation Index (Peer Reviewed)


Universität für Angewandte Kunst Wien. Zentrum Fokus Forschung

Location, Date

Wien, Österreich, 09 March 2023


Philosophy, Concrete Poetry, Language-based Artistic Research, Text Art, Immunology


While the numbers of persons affected by autoimmune diseases increase on a global scale, the cause and genesis of these diseases are still unresolved within the biomedical model. New ways of tackling the open questions are thus in demand. This article proposes an alternative approach, which conceptualise autoimmunity as a variation of the “conditio humana”, the human condition. The theoretical frame of the ongoing project is provided by speculative philosophy and the philosophical anthropology of Helmuth Plessner. Starting with medical-historical aspects of immunology, the common imagery connected with autoimmune diseases is shown as counter-productive in regard to coping with such diseases. To find new images, the technique “EEE–Exercises in Existential Eccentricity” is introduced, based on the biophilosophical notion of “eccentric positionality” by Helmuth Plessner. The technique refers to autoethnography with its focus on the body of the researcher and draws on the notion of the “dialogical self” by cultural psychologist Hubert Hermans. The data resulting from applying the EEE are finally transformed into poetry via “poetic transcription”. The goal is to open the door for an expanded understanding of autoimmune dynamics and to provide supportive images for persons affected by autoimmune diseases.

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Published By: Barbara Macek | Universität für Angewandte Kunst Wien | Publication Date: 21 April 2023, 13:47 | Edit Date: 10 May 2023, 11:29