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.
Worthing Museum and Art Gallery, Chapel Road, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11 1HP, UK
We’re delighted that Anders will be performing Mapping Gender with Kat’s soundscape in the Main Gallery at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery in February.
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.
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.
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?”
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.
‘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.
We’re delighted to launch the Seoul Rhythms project this week at the V&A Museum Friday Late: Making Waves on 25th November.
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.
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.