Exploring Airborne Microplastics: Participatory Artistic Research workshop

Airbourne Macroplastics

Meeting point in the courtyard of the Museum Pankow:

Kultur- und Bildungszentrum Sebastian Haffner Hof
Prenzlauer Allee 227/228
10405 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg

Saturday 7th May

Microplastics are tiny particles of plastic found everywhere across the planet. The majority of plastic in the environment today is made from petrochemicals. Released into the environment continuously for decades, plastic and microplastic particles accumulate. As long-lived traces of human activity, microplastics can now be detected almost everywhere – even in the remotest areas. Building on her previous DIY research into microplastics in soil and water ecosystems and how they coexist with trees and rocks, join artist Kat Austen for these first explorations into catching airborne microplastics using adapted fog-catchers.

Presented in the context of the NEUSTART Kultur funded installation of Stranger to the Trees in Großer Wasserspeicher in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg, this workshop involves participatory research into the reverberations of petrochemical products.

Registration: studio@katausten.com

Double Exhibition and Performance Großer Wasserspeicher, Berlin

We are delighted to announce the double exhibition of Stranger to the Trees and This Land is Not Mine at the Großer Wasserspeicher, Berlin, alongside a live performance of This Land is Not Mine album and new workshop.

Stranger to the Trees (2020) at 19th Media Art Biennale WRO, Wrocław. Photo: Andreas Baudisch

Exhibition Information

22nd April 2022 – 8th May 2022
Großer Wasserspeicher
Belforter Straße, 10405 Berlin

Exhibition opening: 22/04/2022, 6-10 pm, Großer Wasserspeicher

Opening hours: 23/04–08/05/2022, 12-8 pm daily, Thursdays 12–10 pm

This Land is Not Mine is premiering in the context of the Fossile Erfahrung exhibition by Prater Gallery in conversation with the solo exhibition of Stranger to the Trees in collaboration with post-gallery.online, presented in the context of Neustart Kultur. 


Kat will perform the entire This Land is Not Mine album in the Kleiner Wasserspeicher on the Berlin Gallery Weekend.

Performance premiere, Wendish Museum, Cottbus, August 2021. Photo: Andreas Baudisch

More info: Performance Evening with Kat Austen and Elske Rosenfeld

30th April 2022
6-8 pm
Kleiner Wasserspeicher
Belforter Straße, 10405 Berlin

Workshop Participatory Artistic Research: Exploring Airborne Microplastics

7th May 2022
Date and Location TBC

Live screening of The Matter of the Soul | Symphony, followed by Q&A with artist Kat Austen at The Big Freeze art festival

The live screening of The Matter of the Soul | Symphony video (1 hr) will take place on the 7th of March at The Big Freeze Polar Art festival run by The Polar Museum, Cambridge, UK. It will be followed by Q&A with Kat Austen.

The Matter of the Soul is a music, video, installation and performance work. It engenders empathy with the process of dispersal and transformation in the Arctic. The work draws an analogy between human migration, the movement of water from ice to ocean in the Arctic and changing identity online in the context of our contemporary climate emergency.

  • Live event
  • Time: 6pm GMT, 7pm CET, duration 1.5 hours
  • Venue: Crowdcast (join live; register in advance for a reminder).
  • Free

The research for The Matter of the Soul was carried out during the Artist in the Arctic Residency 2017 with Friends of SPRI, Bonhams and One Ocean Expeditions. The work was completed during a Cultural Fellowship in Art and Science (Climate Track) at the Cultural Institute, University of Leeds. The Matter of the Soul | Symphony premiered in October 2018 at Howard Assembly Rooms, Opera North, Leeds, UK.

More information on The Matter of the Soul.

The premiere of Stranger To The Trees on Post-Gallery .online

21 Nov / Sat / 4 PM

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.

“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”.

Contemporary Art in the Anthropocene

Kat performing The Matter of the Soul at MORE WORLD / ZkU Berlin, 2019
Photo: Norman Posselt | berlinergazette.de | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Tuesday 17th November, online

Kat will present a selection of her work as part of the UCL Anthropocene Initiative’s Symposium “Contemporary Art in the Anthropocene” 17th November, 15:30-17:30 CET.

Register here (free of charge).

More info:

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. 

Contributing artists: 

Workshop – Open Lab at Brandenburgisches Landesmuseum für moderne Kunst (BLMK)

Kat explores the human relationship with water using artistic research techniques that meld together embodied explorations with those mediated by sensing equipment. Led and facilitated by Kat, this workshop introduces participants to two of these artistic research methods that make use of scientific equipment and embodied techniques to connect with water, and facilitates the exploration of local water using these methods.

Brandenburgisches Landesmuseum für moderne Kunst (BLMK)
Dieselkraftwerk, Uferstraße/Am Amtsteich 15, 03046 Cottbus, Event space
26th September 2020, 11:00 – 5:30 pm
Participants: max. 6 per Round
Registration is recommended. In the case of free spots spontaneous participation without a pre-registration is possible.
The participation is free of charge.
Registration via email kunstvermittlung.cottbus@blmk.de or +49 355 49494040

This Land Is Not Mine |Launch of the Sounds of Lusatia Platform

Do you live in Lusatia? Contribute sounds from the region to the sound database of This Land Is Not Mine through our new microsite.

On Monday 21st September 2020 we launched the new microsite to crowdsource Sounds of Lusatia: https://lausitzklang.katausten.com

Contribution to the database for freely accessible to anyone who wants to take part in the project. You can choose between German, English and Sorbian. The collected audio files can be uploaded independently in the formats wav, mp3, mp4 and ogg.

Do you live in Lusatia? Contribute sounds that are important to you. This can be the sound of wind turbines, the splash of pebbles thrown into the new lake, the creak of your shed door, the judder of tyres over cobblestones or asphalt, or the call of the woodpecker living in your garden: Whatever sounds really connect you to the place. The website also includes tips for listening exercises, and on how to record and upload recordings.

The recordings that people contribute to the Sounds of Lusatia website and through the workshop will be used in a sound composition accompanied by a video installation that Kat will create as her researches come to an end. Contributors can choose whether to be credited or not. For more information visit https://lausitzklang.katausten.com.

Follow the links to open a press release as a pdf in a new tab in English and in German.