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 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.
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.
Kat will be showing part of her new work Stranger to the Trees in the Quarantine Exhibition organised Kontejner (EMAP/EMARE) for Ars Electronica 2020. Join the live stream from 11am – 11:30 CET on Friday 11th September 2020
In case you missed the radio show featuring the first part of The Matter of the Soul | Symphony on May the 5th 2020 on p-node radio hosted by Klio Krahewska you can now download and listen to the playlist (archive Tuesday, 5/07, 18h, Klio).
Kat is now an artist fellow at IASS Potsdam – Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies. In the next year she will focus on the project This Land is Not Mine which focusses on the region of Lausatia, where Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic meet, the home of the Sorbian ethnic group. This new media project explores identity in a region of co-exisiting cultures that is undergoing fundamental socio-economic changes as brown coal mining in the region is phased out.