We are thrilled to announce the publication of Kat’s book Fossil Echoes, which draws together two of my artworks that look at the consequences of human addiction to fossil fuels. On one side, This Land is Not Mine about brown coal mining and its effect on landscape and culture. On the other, Stranger to the Trees about how microplastics created from oil interact with trees.
Entanglement with carbon is an essential component of the extreme influence of humans on the planet. This trilogy of works introduces three artistic responses to this problem space from Kat Austen’s practice that address positions on aspects of anthropic entanglement with carbon at a more-than-human timescale. Presented together for the first time, the three works interrogate carbon and the impact of humans on its distribution around the planet and through time. The impact of fossil fuel extraction on landscapes, society and ecosystems, the impact of the spread of microplastic — the starting material for which is predominantly fossil fuels — on trees and forests and the reconfiguration of enduring carbon-based materials in a speculative past. These positions reflect not only on the climate crisis but also on quality of life for humans and for the plants, animals and ecosystems with which humans share the planet.
Ars Electronica Festival 7-11th September 2022 Linz, Austria