2024 Cultural Olympics Programme

Time to Break Down (Echoes of the Palaeoplasticene)
in 2024 Cultural Olympics Exhibition Program
The Fabulous Stories to Save the Green Planet
10th January – 1st February 2024
Location: Sea Gallery, Gyeongpo Beach, Gangneung, KR

More information at http://2024coep.kr/

Opening 10th January on the occasion of the 2024 Youth Winter Olympics in Republic of Korea Gangwon Province, a new site specific installation of Time to Break Down (Echoes of the Palaeoplasticene) at the Sea Gallery in Gangneung. The work includes a very special soundscape using audio recorded in an abandoned shaft #850 in Samtan Art Mine, Taebaek, KR

Time to Break Down (Echoes of the Palaeoplasticene) is situated in the Palaeoplasticene speculative past and inspired by the scientific method of taphonomy, which looks at how bodies decay in the natural environment. For Palaeoplasticence, the method of taphonomy is applied to 3D printed PLA mushrooms, exploring what evolutionary advantage there would be to a mushroom if it had evolved to grow from plastic. The site specific installation for the 4th Gangwon Winter Youth Olympic Games joins four ongoing Palaeoplasticene taphonomy installations in Berlin, Germany; Helsinki, Finland; Dublin, Ireland and Gijon, Spain.

Accompanied for this site specific installation by a soundscape drawing links between fossil fuel extraction and the slow process of the break down of plastic, Time to Break Down (Echoes of the Palaeoplasticene) helps us to realize that the enduring legacy of man-made objects like the plastic will bring about changes affecting both human and non-human beings.

Artist: Kat Austen
Initial concept: Kat Austen in collaboration with Indrė Žliobaitė, Laurence Gill
Production: Ars Electronica Andrew Newman
Palaeoplasticene was realised within the framework of the STUDIOTOPIA program at Ars Electronica Linz GmbH & Co KG with support of the Creative Europe Culture Programme of the European Union.

This site specific edition of Time to Break Down (Echoes of the Palaeoplasticene) includes field recordings from Samtan Art Mine, Gangwon Province, thanks to Director Whasoon Son and with the support of Dongjoo Seo.

Exhibition opening ceremony at 14:00 on 10th January.

Solo Show This Land is Not Mine at Cinémathèque

This Land is Not Mine
3. Nov – 30. Nov 2023
11:00-17:00 Tues-Fri

Cinémathèque Leipzig
Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 109,
04275 Leipzig, DE

The 20 channel video installation This Land is Not Mine will be exhibited as a solo show at the new gallery of Cinémathèque in Leipzig. A complementary programme of events is planned under the name Łuža throughout the month of November, starting with the This Land is Not Mine | Album performance on 3. Nov for the exhibition opening.

Entry to the exhibition is free of charge.

More information

How to Touch a Dragonfly at ZER01NE Day

How to Touch a Dragonfly (2023)
New Media installation

Opening 19th October until 22nd October
S-Factory D, Seongdong-gu, Seoul

“When I was a child, there were dragonflies everywhere.” The summer heat is smothering us as the group of elders shelter in the shadow of the Wondumak gazebo next to the village hall. One person proffers a folded over toilet paper, which I unfold to reveal a petrified, decomposing stagbeetle. The wooden shelter, so necessary in these hot summer months, lies on a track out of the village. Almost immediately beyond, the buildings give way to an incline tracing the bank of a dry riverbed up to terraced rice fields; the Gudeuljang.

These Gudeuljang secured Korea the country’s first ever globally important agricultural heritage site. The rice here is formed without pesticides, using traditional method that date back to the 1600s. The terraces of the Gudeuljang contain a network of underground channels, which feed mountain rainwater to the crops. Farmers control the flow by moving stones to stem the water, allowing it to warm in the sun before letting it into the fields. Many of fields at higher altitudes are out of use now, the crucial channels collapsing into themselves. Farmers know what’s happening higher up the mountainside from the changing behaviour of water in the fields they tend. Compared to other landscapes, dragonflies thrive here in this pesticide-free rural idyll. Yet even here the dragonflies are fewer, and come at different times of year than before.

People notice the change from their childhood. “It used to be a game when we were kids, we would catch the dragonflies in our hands and hold them their wings feel like paper like the Hanji in my grandparents doors. Crinkly but strong. Now you just don’t see them so much anymore.”

This year I’ve seen none of the swarms I saw last year. I hear the hum of traffic from the top of the hill. The smoke turns the blue sky yellow. I reach out my hand into the open air, against the sunshine, and I return to a hillside where the trees have grown back; they were felled for survival in desperate times. Now what threatens the humans here is an exodus. I wouldn’t mind moving to Cheongsan-do for awhile. I’d even like the experience of farming but as a foreigner, I wasn’t permitted to hire a car. There are various things that make a landscape in hospitable. We didn’t have so many dragonflies where I grew up. Now I’m somewhere the way they belong but I’m in the wrong time. Which begs the question: how do you touch a dragonfly that isn’t there?

Artist: Kat Austen
Designer: Robin Andersson (RTA Studio)
Digital Artist: Daniel Hengst
Creative Technologist: Justus Erhas
Production Director: Frank Lohmoeller
Production Manager: Olive Okjoh Han
Production Assistance: Hyeonhwa Lee
Additional Filming: Sangwon Lee
Hanji Funding: Jeonju Millenium Hanji Museum (전주천년한지관)
Supported by: ZER01NE Creator’s Programme (Hyundai Motor Group)
Thanks to: UN FAO KR, GIAHS (Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Site) Cheongsan-do, R. Glowinski

Palaeoplasticene at Weather Engines, LABoral

Palaeoplasticene will open at Laboral Centro de Arte in “Weather Engines” curated by Daphne Dragona and Jussi Parikka on 6th October 2023. Until 25 May 2024.

Palaeoplasticene addresses the breakdown of plastic in the environment over a more-than-human timeframe. Addressing the ubiquity and longevity of microplastic in the environment, Palaeoplasticene is both a multimedia installation and an online Open Artistic Research Platform presenting series of distributed transdisciplinary experiments that question the agency of plastic through “Long Time”.
Exhibited at LABoral will be a recreation of our experimental Taphonomy setup which explores through a durational experience of daily documentation the persistence of PLA 3d printed mushrooms juxtaposed against biological and weather changes. The setup is placed within specially commissioned pots by ceramicist Blake Thompson.

For 18 months I developed the concept for Palaeoplasticene with my studio’s scientists in residence Laurence Gill and Indrė Žliobaitė with the production of Andrew Newman at Ars Electronica through the Studiotopia programme. The project has resulted in three installation iterations and an Open Artistic Research Platform which documents the artistic research methods.


Flow Over Water Borders at Walls Have Ears | ARS Art Factory, Tallinn

Flow Over Water Borders (2019)
Walls Have Ears
ARS Art Factory
Tallinn, Estonia

10th – 18th February 2023

“Flow Over Water Borders” by Kat Austen is presented as a 4-channel sound installation that explores fluidity of identity in relation to borders. Paracelsus famously said of all substances “It is only the dose which makes a thing poison.” Borders constrain and divide, they are often contested, policed, enforced. Yet they also protect, define, collect… Their value is in the way that they and their permeability are navigated. 

Drawing parallels between urban life for young people and the changes to water as it passes through the city, this sound artwork sheds light on the meaning of boundaries, the fluid nature of the self and the eternal navigation of the individual as part of society.

The artwork is based on participatory artistic research focussed on the Panke River in Berlin with local school pupils. Realised through DIY Hack the Panke’s Science by Doing with Art Laboratory Berlin.

Festival Website Walls Have Ears / Sientel On Korvad

More information Flow Over Water Borders

More information Science by Doing at Art Laboratory Berlin’s site

Launching Seoul Rhythms at V&A London

We’re delighted to launch the Seoul Rhythms project this week at the V&A Museum Friday Late: Making Waves on 25th November.

V&A South Kensington
25th November 2022
Friday Late: Making Waves
18:30 – 22:00
Visit Seoul Rhythms | Summer (2022) in The Globe, Europe 1600–1815 Galleries, Room 4 (Making Waves Programme pdf)

Video Artwork credits:
Director: Daye Yang, Enseo Mo, Oh Se Ae
Photography & artwork: Oh Se Ae
Hair: Daye Yang
Makeup: Min Kim, Jiwon Lee
Styling: Eunseo Mo
Model: Yanghee Han

Times and tempos within cityscapes coexist. These conversations – not just between humans but also with the creatures and natural processes in a place – are unique and in constant dynamic variation.

The 2-channel sound installation Seoul Rhythms | Summer (2022), premiering within the context of the Hallyu (Korean Wave) Late in The Globe at the V&A, brings together tempos of the capital city of the Republic of Korea at the height of summer, interweaving sounds of cicadas, mopeds, birds and busses in a rhythmic exploration of the metropolis’s character.

Seoul Rhythms | Summer (2022), released to coincide with the V&A Late, is the first movement from the ongoing Seoul Rhythms project, which situates the exploration of the tempos of daily life in the rhythm of the passing seasons.

Download Seoul Rhythms | Summer (2022) on Bandcamp

The Matter of the Soul at Changwon Sculpture Biennale 2022

Kat’s Arctic Symphony The Matter of the Soul (2018) will be on show at the Changwon Sculpture Biennale 2022 in Changwon, Republic of Korea until 20th November 2022.

For the Changwon Biennale, The Matter of the Soul | Symphony video is shown in the context of the Joonam Reservoir, a protected and biodiverse haven for insects and migratory birds. Yet the reservoir is in a region also undergoing change, as the climate at the south of the Korean peninsula crosses over into being designated sub-tropical due to warming temperatures. Positioned in this context, alongside dire warnings from scientists in 2022 of the urgent need for climate action, The Matter of the Soul renews its imperative for degrowth, an end to extraction and prioritisation of addressing ecological crises.

Biennale information

Online Biennale Exhibition Platform