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.”
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.
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
We are delighted to announce the performance premiere of Mapping Gender – a creation by Anders Duckworth in collaboration with Kat Austen – at The Place in London this autumn.
Three years in the making, Mapping Gender explores the synchrony between power dynamics applied to bodies and to landscapes.
Mapping Gender is a multisensory exhibition of dance, image, scent, sound and research. It’s an invitation to explore the parallels between cartography and historical clothing through a lens of non-binary experiences. Created by Anders Duckworth in collaboration with sound artist Kat Austen, Mapping Gender looks at landscapes, the way we draw borders and create boundaries on maps to carve up geographical space whilst also asking us to explore how we look at the body and how we use gender to carve and divide people.
Created with nine interdisciplinary artists and a group of trans/non-binary volunteers, Mapping Gender includes selections from a series of recorded interviews with non-binary people discussing their personal experiences. By drawing together people who exist on the margins and the ‘in-between’ spaces we open up new possibilities and provide an opportunity to re-discover the place and complexities we find in gender.
Date: 28th September 2022
Location: The Place, 17 Duke’s Road, London, WC1H 9PY
On Saturday Kat will be playing alongside Anders Duckworth’s performance of Mapping Gender as part BALTIC is Curious. Kat has collaborated with Anders on Mapping Gender over the last 2.5 years, creating the sound and music for this exhibition of performance, image, sound and research. It’s an invitation to see the parallels between cartography and clothing, to explore how society controls, shapes and demarcates both landscapes and human bodies – all told through the lens of non-binary experiences.
In creating the soundscape over the last two years Kat has carried out research in liminal spaces – at coasts, riversides and boundaries. In Saturday’s performance, she will use her hacked scientific equipment to play sounds from a water sample that she collected from the Baltic Sea in December last year alongside water from outside the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art.