(Un)Real Ecologies – Microplastics at Art Laboratory Berlin

Workshop: (Un)Real Ecologies – Microplastics (with Kat Austen & Frithjof Glowinski)
13./14. April, 2019, 13-18 Uhr

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Filtering Panke Water on the River Bank

Part of DIY Hack the Panke

Plastic has pervaded water, soil and our bodies. It is the new icon of our time. During the (Un)Real Ecologies: Microplastics workshop we will explore the presence of microplastics in the Panke River, near Art Laboratory Berlin. How do organisms and microorganisms exist with and construct with these human-made materials? We will interrogate the water samples, to discover a new understanding of the reality of the Panke’s ecosystem, with plastic present and wholly a part of it – a microcosm that allows us to ask: “what is nature?”

In the workshop participants will use DIY chemistry methods to separate microplastics from mineral and organic matter, and discover the origins of the plastics they find by creating density columns. They will also learn about the ecology of the Panke River and the Citizen Science project DIY Hack the Panke.

Kat Austen is a succession of experiences and an assemblage of aspirations. She creates artworks that explore multiple knowledges, from music to embodied knowledge to DIY science, focusing on emotional connections between what we consider internal and external. Kat is a Teaching Fellow on UCL’s Arts and Sciences BASc, and is Artist in Residence in UCL’s Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences. Previous residencies include Artist in the Arctic, NYU Shanghai Gallery and ArtOxygen. Kat was an inaugural member of the London Creative Network programme. She is based in Berlin.

Frithjof Glowinski studied biochemistry at the University of Greifswald. Subsequently, he received his doctorate at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin for infections relating to the stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori. The focus was on the balance between bacteria and humans, as well as the long-term consequences of this interaction. He is currently teaching biology and chemistry at a school near the Panke. Together with Art Laboratory Berlin and the DIY Hack the Panke collective, he organizes workshops with children from the school along the Panke.

Organised together with DIY Hack the Panke .

Limted number of participants – to take part please email: register@artlaboratory-berlin.org

On overwhelm and post-truth – new paper published

This year I contributed to the Proceedings of the 9th SAR International Conference on Artistic Research. My paper, “Multiple Knowledges and the Redefinition of the Self in the Environment”, explores ecological grief and the feeling of overwhelm, post-truth and the role artistic research and practice can have on creating new knowledge. The paper can be found, alongside fascinating contributions on similar topics, on Research Catalogue where the proceedings have been published.

 

Exploring embodiment with Rosemary Lee at Crossing Borders, Independent Dance

Don’t stop ’til you feel it: explorations in environmental empathy
Kat Austen and Rosemary Lee

6th November 2018
7 – 8.30pm
Independent Dance
Siobhan Davies Studios
85 St George’s Rd, London, SE1 6ER

I’m thrilled to be in conversation with the excellent Rosemary Lee for the Crossing Borders series run by Independent Dance. We will be talking about how one connects to the environment with embodiment and emotion, and the line between art and activism.

Website and booking link

Kat Austen: “For almost my entire life, I have been perplexed at my/our inaction towards climate change and what we couch as environmental damage. Inundated with scientific data, reportage, an overwhelming scientific consensus of not only the phenomenon, but also our part in it, I wonder about why we are not only reluctant to act, but incapable of it. My work focusses on aiming to answer the question: when we know so much already, what do we need to know in order to live more compassionately with/in the world and, most importantly, how do we need to know it?

To this end, I am particularly interested in the role of emotion in our relationship to climate change. One of the ways in which I research this is to focus on modes of engendering empathy, particularly in terms of acting with and upon the body. I create musical, sound and sculptural works and participatory practices that intervene with the minded-body in different ways, aiming to generate new types of empathy with that which we consider “other” to ourselves – be it another species or another ecosystem.”

Rosemary Lee: “Often rooted in our relationship to landscape, my practice of care and empathy has a deeply human focus. I am curious about the individual and the ensemble or collective, the creating of a community and illustration of it in the works themselves, the way the work engages a knowing audience in comparison to someone who stumbles across it, the responsibility I have for the casts and the audiences experience, the role language plays in facilitating movement and how our physical and sensorial knowing of the world shapes language. An embodied understanding of our environment, whether through touch, sensory activation or or re-imagination is a form of gentle radicalism -politically and artistically. I am curious about care as a state, a felt experience and how imagination, thought, opinion and action might be affected by it. I suggest that care is infectious and familiar and can be awoken in us at any moment, how to value it and hold onto it is the challenge.”

Music video screening at Architecture and the Senses, Plasy Monastery

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14th October 2018
National Technical Museum – Center for Architectural Heritage Plasy,
Plasy Monastery, Czech Republic

The video for  biphasic | The Matter of the Soul, will be screened for the first time at Architecture and the Senses, a symposium organised by the Agosto Foundation at National Technical Museum – Center for Architectural Heritage Plasy, Mathey Hall, Plasy Monastery, Opatská konírna.

biphasic is the first movement of The Matter of the Soul symphony. This three-part symphony explores the relationship between human movement and the dispersal of Arctic water, creating in the process digital artefacts that disperse online. It is an elaboration of identity and meta-identity in the shifting times of climate crisis, interweaving socio-politics, individual needs and desires, and global impacts of human activity.

In biphasic, two discrete entities exist alongside each other, but not together, not mixing.

The Matter of the Soul | Symphony will première in its entirety at Howard Assembly Rooms, Opera North in Leeds, UK, on the 23rd October.  Tickets available here.