Learning from Landscapes for the Post-Anthropocene – Publication

Kat’s essay, commissioned by the Against Catastrophe research project, has been published in the project’s most recent edition, the Energy Dispatch. The article draws on Kat’s research for This Land is Not Mine to explore what secrets post-extractive landscapes reveal for a sustainable future.

“There is something captivating about destruction on an epic scale. The horror of it draws the eye and ear, pulling focus. Looking out across acres of scarred earth at the open cast lignite mine of Janschwalde near Cottbus / Chóśebuz in Lausitz (Lusatia in English) by the German-Polish border, the sheer magnitude of the anthropogenic change visited on the landscape is magnificent and catastrophic. Yet, scale and perspective are key here. Is it possible to look beyond this immensity and find that, at other scales and in other timeframes, there are stories evolving that transcend catastrophe?”

Access the full multimedia article “Learning from Landscapes for the Post-Anthropocene” at the Against Catastrophe site.

Energy Dispatch is the second online publication drop on the website of our multimodal research project, ‘Against Catastrophe’.

The aim of Against Catastrophe is to interrogate the concept of catastrophe and explore anti-catastrophic practices to expose the longer-term structural causes and implications of catastrophes and catastrophic thinking, rhetoric, and imaginaries. The focus throughout is on how novel approaches
in design, architecture, and technology can open possibilities for navigating a catastrophic world, but also expand epistemic horizons beyond apocalyptic thinking. The project outputs include an edited volume, offline and online exhibitions, and a series of online publications, called ‘Dispatches’.

In the second dispatch on “Energy” edited by Johanna Mehl and Moritz Ingwersen contributors seek out remediations of catastrophe that reject the dichotomy of utopia and apocalypse to foreground the uneasy and ambiguous emplacements of energy, where shifting constellations of power and the imagination, more-than-human ecologies and socio-technical infrastructures continuously intersect. You can read the full editorial statement here.

Kat’s article is based on her research for This Land is Not Mine installation and This Land is Not Mine album, supported by the IASS Potsdam Artist Fellowship 2020.

‘Against Catastrophe’ is led by Dr. Orit Halpern, Lighthouse Professor and Chair of Digital Cultures and Societal Change at Technische Universität Dresden. The core project team led by Sudipto Basu is based out of Concordia University (Montreal), MIT, and TU Dresden. With illustrations and design treatment by T.S. Halpern.

‘Against Catastrophe’ is funded by Fonds de recherche du Québec and the Swiss National Science Foundation, and is part of the larger Governing Through Design research cluster.

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

After Extractivism Text published by Berliner Gazette

Image by Colnate Group cc-by-nc

Learning from Landscapes: Aesthetics, Identity And The Post-Extractivist Transition

The coal region of Lusatia in the former East Germany is undergoing fundamental socio-economic changes. The challenge is to work collaboratively and collectively on a just transition – with humans and with non-human and more-than-human community members, Kat Austen argues in her contribution to the Berliner Gazette text series “After Extractivism,” drawing on her artistic research for “This Land is Not Mine.”

Read the full article in English

Read the full article in German

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

Carbon Echoes Trilogy at Ars Electronica

Stranger to the Trees (2020)

We are delighted to announce that Kat will be showing for the first time her Carbon Echoes trilogy at Ars Electronica festival 2022.

The three works shown together are Stranger to the Trees, This Land is Not Mine and Palaeoplasticene.

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

More information

Palaeoplasticene (2021)

Screenshot, This Land is Not Mine (2022)