Blending Worlds with Mending Words

  • How to Transform the Autoimmune Body Into Poetry


  • 30 June 2022–02 July 2022 (Bauhaus-Universität Weimar)


Lecture, artbased research, poetry, Collage, Natural Philosophy, Other Human Medicine, Health Sciences, Cultural Anthropology, Lyrik , Universalpoesie, Philosophical Anthropology, body language


Many autoimmune diseases are rare by definition, meaning that they are marginalised and placed at the periphery – of medical and pharmacological research, but also of public interest. Furthermore, the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases is still unclear which is one root of the dark and threatening image commonly drawn of the autoimmune body, as a body who "treats itself as foreign" or "as an enemy". This is shown in the frequent use of civil-war-metaphors in regard to the topic, with understandably demoralising effects on persons concerned. The aim of the presented project is to throw the spotlight on autoimmune diseases at the margins of medicine and society, and to develop new ways of meaning creation for the processes behind – with the intention to provide a supportive imagery (verbally and pictorially) for persons coping with a life crisis labeled "autoimmune disease". The basis of the project are patient interviews that were conducted at the rheumatological department of the General Hospital Vienna as part of a transdisciplinary project on developing new, artistic forms of anamnesis. The "Progressive Universalpoesie" (progressive universal poetry), a theory of German romanticism, formulated by the poet Novalis and the philosopher Friedrich Schlegel, constitutes the theoretical framework of the research. Its main thesis conceptualises the autoimmune body as a modified and therefore poetic body. The symptoms of an autoimmune disease are understood as articulations of these changes that can be read as signs of a starting transformation of the body into a poetical means of world creation. The research methods draw on DADA art techniques, f. e. by employing chance as a co-experimenter. The outcome is a series of poems that reconstruct the autoimmune body as a transient poetical formation. New information emerges, leading to a gain of meaning on all levels – the individual, the cultural, the artistic and the medical level.



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Published By: Barbara Macek | Universität für Angewandte Kunst Wien | Publication Date: 21 May 2022, 16:07 | Edit Date: 05 February 2024, 08:02