Kat Austen’s Stranger to the Trees is a new media project exploring the complementary coexistence of microplastics and trees as carbon sinks. How do trees and microplastics coexist in forests, capturing carbon in the time of the climate crisis? Stranger to the Trees’ two channels of video orient around a musical composition combining traditional instruments, hacked instruments and field recordings. One video, an analogue silhouette animation mixed with live-action video, explores the macro perspective of this coexistence. The other, incorporating results from a scientific experiment into the effect of microplastics on birch trees, explores the micro perspective. Together, they query the response of forest ecosystems to the ubiquitous and irrevocable dispersal of microplastics around the Earth.
Through a co-operation with innovative online gallery post-gallery.online curated by Kelli Gedvil and Kristen Rästas, the release of Stranger to the Trees is reconfigured, hybridised like the trees themselves, to allow the meaning and affordance of the two channels of video to be conveyed through online media fit for pandemic times.
Credits “The Work was realised within the framework of the European Media Art Platforms EMARE program at WRO Art Center with support of the Creative Europe Culture Programme of the European Union”.
Kat is delighted to be collaborating with choreographer Anders Duckworth on the Mapping Gender project, which brings together non-binary perspectives & stories to explore how society controls & shapes both landscapes and human bodies, through a residency at The Place, London.
Expanding the focus on scientific data which is common to discourse on the subject, UCL Anthropocene emphasises the causal links between the conditions of human experience and escalating ecological collapse. In this vein, this seminar will explore the potential of contemporary art practice in addressing the problems that the Anthropocene poses for our collective future.
Given the scope of the subject at hand, the format will be expansive and discursive. Each of the seven contributing UCL artists will give a short presentation (10-15 minutes) to introduce the significance of the notion of the Anthropocene within their practice and point towards ways in which contemporary art might effectively address the environmental crisis. Afterwards, these perspectives will be brought into dialogue through a 30-minute round table discussion, which will also be an opportunity to welcome questions from the audience.
Kat will present her artistic work at the fourth international conference “Taboo – Transgression – Transcendence in Art & Science”, November 26–28, 2020.
Kat’s talk “The transgression of boundaries through transdisciplinary research relevant to the climate crisis” draws on her portfolio of projects interrogating the boundary between the self and other(s) in the context of ecological crises.
“Taboo – Transgression – Transcendence in Art & Science”, exclusively online as TTT2020 Vienna/Online, an umbilical cord between what would be and what it is. Including theoretical and art practice presentations, TTT2020 continues to focus (a) on questions about the nature of the forbidden and aesthetics of liminality as expressed in art that uses or is inspired by technology and science, and (b) on the opening of spaces for creative transformation in the merging of science and art.