Barb Macek, born in Bruck/Mur, Austria, studied psychology with focus on psychopoetology, and Art & Science at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. She is an author, art based researcher, poet, and currently fellow (DOC) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences as doctoral candidate at the Institute of Fine Arts and Media Arts / University of Applied Arts Vienna.
As an author and photographer her texts, poems, and photo collages are printed in journals, magazines, and anthologies. She also published two monographs, „sehen & nicht sehen“ (publisher Czernin), and „Lykanthropus erythematosus“ (published by the University of Applied Arts Vienna). She received several state grants for her art projects, most recently a scholarship for literature in 2021.
As an artistic researcher she gave talks on International Conferences (2017 Berlin, 2019 Zurich and Linz, 2021 Vienna) on the subject of art / poetry based research in the fields of medicine (especially pain medicine and rheumatology). From October 2017 to July 2018 she worked as a tutor at the Medical University of Vienna within a transdisciplinary project to develop new ways of medical anamnesis.
Her installations based on her artistic research projects were shown within the exhibitions „[dis]placement“ (2016), and „Essence 2017“ as well as „Essence 2019“ (University of Applied Arts Vienna).
In September 2018 her Art & Science-project on pain: „Between Agony and Ecstasy – Investigations into the Meaning of Pain“ was published in the peer-reviewed Journal for Artistic Research (JAR 16). In December 2019 the publication of an article on artistic research on the margins of medicine and mythology in the peer-reviewed Journal RUUKKU – Studies in Artistic research followed.
In November 2018 she received the Award of Excellence of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research for her academic achievement. In March 2019 the Prize for Excellent Research Catalogue Exposition 2018 was awarded to her in the scope of the 10th SAR International Conference on Artistic Research at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste for her artistic research project on pain.
In August 2021 she received a two-year DOC Fellowship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW) for her doctoral project: “Autoimmunity and Anthropological Difference”. With this artistic research project at the intersection of medicine, biology, philosophy and poetry she explores the cause and meaning of autoimmunity in humans and animals.