Hosted by: Ars Electronica
Kat Austen is a person. In her artistic practice, she focuses on environmental issues. She melds disciplines and media, creating sculptural and new media installations, performances, and participatory work. Austen’s practice is underpinned by extensive research and theory and driven by a motivation to explore how to move towards a more socially and environmentally just future.
Working from her studio in Berlin, Austen is currently EMAP / EMARE Artist in Residence at WRO Art Center, Artist Fellow at Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam, Artist in Residence at the Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences, University College London and Senior Teaching Fellow at UCL Arts and Sciences. She is a member of the bbk, an inaugural member of the London Creative Network and is co-founder of the DIY Hack the Panke collective in Berlin and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Austen’s field research has included a voyage around the Canadian High Arctic as Artist in the Arctic 2017 for Friends of Scott Polar Research Institute (University of Cambridge) for her project The Matter of the Soul. In 2018 Austen was selected as inaugural Cultural Fellow in Art and Science at the Cultural Institute, the University of Leeds for the same project. Austen has been awarded residencies internationally, including with NYU Shanghai, ArtOxygen Mumbai, LAStheatre, the Clipperton Project and Utter! Spoken word.
Austen has exhibited at Bonhams Art Gallery, London; The Polar Museum, Cambridge; Kuehlhaus, Berlin, among others, and her work is held internationally in private collections. She has performed around the globe, including at Opera North, Leeds; Fusion Festival, Berlin and Headlands Center for the Arts, San Francisco.
My artworks address factors affecting human behaviour with respect to non-human agents in the environment, for example: empathy for other species or ecosystems (SDGs 6, 13, 14, 15) and food (SDG 3). My participatory research strategies not only directly research topics of interest, such as DIY explorations into the chemistry of water or microplastic pollution and image theatre workshops into the agency of earth and water (SDGs 13, 14, 15), but they also are shaped in order to transfer and democratise knowledge-making practices to diverse communities, and to foster social, political and environmental agency through active participation and intervention in environmental and social systems (SDGs 4, 11).
My work stems from an urgent and constant drive to understand how we can live better and more justly with other entities - be they people, other species, or the entire planet. My art acts at the boundary between what we think of as the self and other(s). It redefines and enriches our relationship to the environment and society.
My artistic outputs span performance, installation, experimental music and participatory projects. In my work, I explore empathy with non-humans, social agency, power relations and identity in the context of global systems such as industrialisation and migration. My gaze regularly rests on the climate crisis, food challenges and microplastic coexistence with geological and biological entities.
Grounded in extensive transdisciplinary research, I engage with the powerful practice of participatory knowledge making - in which I include DIY Science, citizen science, hacking and making alongside participatory artistic research. Through my practice, I work with how these methods engender socio-political agency and address inequalities and power imbalances within society, exploring the interrelationship between knowing and acting, particularly in the context of environmental problem spaces.
#INSTALLATION #PERFORMANCE #SCULPTURE
- Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being
- Goal 4: Quality Education
- Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
- Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
- Goal 13: Climate Action
- Goal 14: Life Below Water
- Goal 15: Life on Land