I’m excited to be selected as one of the educators of the New Politics and Afrofuturism programme of the University of the Underground and Magid Magid. The tuition free programme—which will run from 19th October 2020 to March 2021—is calling for Black Radical imagination and pop-culture as powerful vehicles for propelling progressive social justice narratives to mainstream audiences, with a focus on afrofuturism, black activism, climate justice along with political theory and practice.

From the programme:

As a part of the programme, Magid along with the selected students of 14 will work together on producing meaningful experiences and interventions answering: What would a world where both people and the planet thrive look like? What would the values, systems and culture of that world be? You can join the programme as a visiting participant by registering your interest anytime on hello@universityoftheunderground.org – we can than share the schedule with you. We would recommend a donation to our charity as a part of the online programme. Recommended donation is 5-10 euros a class and according to what you think you can afford. Your donation will go towards supporting the tuition-free programmes at the University of the Underground, and educators fees. We recommend 100-200 euros for a month access (or 10-15 lectures). Thank you. If you wish to donate: http://universityoftheunderground.org/donate

The University of the Underground is a free, pluralistic and transnational university with headquarters in Amsterdam and London- and actively working with both institutions and nightlife. As a charity, the hope of the University of the Underground is to bring generations together to democratise access to public institutions and trigger changes and critical reflections through the use of creative and experiential practices.

I will speak about my interdisciplinary art practice as well as run a workshop called “Rewriting the Problematic?: Counternarratives”.

Find the full faculty list here: http://universityoftheunderground.org/new-politics-afrofuturisms-programme

[COPENHAGEN] Stoked to hold a recorded Zoom conversation with Hugo Hopping of SixtyEight Art Institute for The Curator is the Weather, to which I was supposed to participate in person except that I am in Sydney and cannot leave because of the Australian travel ban. Gracias and tak for including me despite these challenging circumstances. Have fun, you all!

From the organisers:

THE CURATORIAL THING (4th Edition)

The Curator is the Weather
Organised by SixtyEight Art Institute
1 – 9 October, 2020

Evening Talk Series: 2, 6, 7, and 8 of October
From 18:00 to 21:00
Location: Gothersgade 140
At the Social Sciences Faculty Library of Copenhagen University

SixtyEight Art Institute is pleased to announce that our 2nd, 6th, 7th, and 8th of October Evening Lecture Programme is ready!

The Evening Lectures will be open to the (physical) public for free (observing the Covid-19 Danish Health Authority recommendations) and it will be streamed and made available online for 120 DKK/16 EUR. This fee helps cover our film production expenses and it gives access to all four days of Lectures to our (virtual) public from remote locations.

The Curatorial Thing, Evening Lecture Programme, will be inviting the voices of artists and curators who are bringing particular attention to issues such as climate change and new technologies that can contribute to a more nuanced understanding of how #art, #science, and #technology can approach the building of a future of mutual relations, taking into account the continual #evolution of human nature in and with the natural world after #climatechange.

The evening lectures will be held at the Social Sciences Faculty Library of Copenhagen University (Det Samfundsvidenskabelige Fakultetsbibliotek) at Gothersgade 140, 1123 Copenhagen next to the Botanical Gardens.

The Curatorial Thing (4th Edition) is being organised/led by Hugo Hopping and Christopher Sand-Iversen for SixtyEight Art Institute.

REGISTRATION is on EVENTBRITE

Registration for physical or ‘in-person’ attendance is free while live streaming is 120 DKK/16 EUR. But register and choose via this Eventbrite Link or in Bio:

https://www.eventbrite.dk/e/the-curatorial-thing-the-curator-is-the-weather-tickets-121918059197

See the full programme here: https://madmimi.com/p/7fbf411/ or on Eventbrite to access the presentation summaries. Looking forward to your participation and support.

I don’t know how I missed this, but one of our Supercharge art sessions is on the Obama Foundation Asia Pacific Leaders webpage together with the amazing activities of other leaders. Friends and colleagues in art, education, environment, and advocacy, I’m now taking expressions of interest for those who need free art classes for their communities. Open to everyone around the world, and anytime within 1PM-12AM AEST! ❤

Finland dreaming

4 September 2020—Today marks the start of my time with the Saari Residence. Because of travel restrictions in these pandemic times, three of us have to stay at home. While I cannot express the disappointment of not being in Finland right now, I think this is an opportunity to find out how the art residency model can adapt to the new world. Great to virtually meet you all, and let’s see what magic we can make!

Saari Residents 2020

Out of the 698 applications, 26 residencies were chosen. View the article here on the Kone Foundation site.

Space Art Summer School 2020

And that’s a wrap for likely the world’s first space art program held online! What a world-bending mind-exploding summer / Aussie winter. Thank you to our hosts, Natalia Fuchs and Peter Kirn @pkirn, and to our institutional host, the Moscow Museum of Cosmonautics and to my very inspiring co-participants. Looking forward to developing our projects and collaborations in this new world. Stay tuned for updates. Спасибо!

The full list of participants include:

1. Chad Eby / US
2. Fahmi Mursyid / Indonesia
3. Markus Schroll / Germany
4. Mami Mizushina / Japan / UK
5. Boris Shershenkov / Russia
6. Cody Sowerby / UK
7. Liudmila Siewerski / Germany
8. Nitzan Satt / Israel
9. Kris Pilcher / USA
10. Luke Hooper / Netherlands
11. Kristina Mikhailova / Kazakhstan
12. Adriana Knouf / USA
13. Catherine Sarah Young / Philippines / Australia
14. Afroditi Psarra / USA
15. Sasha Rindisbacher / USA
16. Louise Beer / UK
17. Alexey Yepishev / Russia
18. Daniil Posazhennikov / Russia
19. Fabiane Morais Borges / Brazil
​20. Hellen Boyko / Russia

 

So cool, our certificates are signed by curator Natalia Fuchs, co-host Peter Kirn, and Hero of the Soviet Union, Aleksandr Laveykin, a retired Soviet cosmonaut who flew in the Mir EO-2, the second long duration expedition to the Soviet space station Mir, and was both launched and landed with the spacecraft Soyuz TM-2. He spent 174 days 3 hrs 25 minutes in space (ironically about the same time we’ve been living in a world where Covid-19 was declared a pandemic and borders started to close). I appreciate the rare cool things 2020 throws our way, thank you!

(USA and International)—The Peace Studio supports, trains, and unites the next generation of artists, journalists and storytellers to inspire people everywhere to become active peacebuilders. Earlier this year, they began commissioning creatives to generate peace offerings in response to the isolating COVID-19 pandemic in their 100 Offerings of Peace Campaign. I’m stoked to have contributed to this awesome and necessary campaign on Day 23; my piece is about the Australian bushfire crisis.

Human hearts cast out of resin, bushfire ash, soil, stones, flowers, etc.

“I moved to Australia in September 2019, and what I viewed initially as a move to a country that was relatively safe from climate catastrophes quickly turned into a move to ground zero because of the bushfire crisis. I decided to use the ashes to create art as a way forward for healing and regeneration. I reference the scene of the “Weighing of the Hearts” of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, in which the dead person’s heart is weighed against a feather. This peace offering asks us, what weighs our hearts down or makes them lighter?”

“One day I woke up and a piece of the planet was in my heart,” is how my art/sci/nature/sci-fi video offering starts. Check out the video here: https://thepeacestudio.org/day-23/

The Peace Studio is co-founded by Dr. Maya Soetoro, also consultant to the Obama Foundation and whom we in the Obama Leaders: Asia-Pacific cohort have the honor of being with. Let’s do what Yo-yo Ma (Day 25) says and to create art and post it online with the hashtag #OfferPeace. Please support their wonderful work on @the_peace_studio and www.thepeacestudio.org.

via Museum of Cosmonautics

[Moscow and Zoom] I’m stoked to be one of the selected artists for this cool space art summer program hosted by the Moscow Museum of Cosmonautics and art practice ARTYPICAL. This is a laboratory project for creative research of archives and visual culture related to contemporary ideas about space and the history of space exploration. There are 20 of us selected after an international open call to create new sound and visual works across disciplines, from 3D animation and digital sculpture to new literature and music production. Topics include: space in cinematography and visual art, space in the work of music composers, sonification and audification of the cosmos and astronomy, media art in outer space, media archeology of space, philosophy of space and Russian cosmism, iconographies of human spaceflight, and more.

Space! Art! Russia! Can’t wait to meet and learn from my fellow participants. See you soon!

Full list of artists and public program here.

(USA)—I’m very honoured for one of my speculative short stories, Good Harvest, to win first place at the inaugural Bright21st solarpunk short story contest. My story speculates on our evolving relationship with death through those who have chosen to have their remains be turned into fruit-bearing trees.

Bright21st focuses on inspiring, optimistic futures:

Stories shape our culture. With an over saturation of gloomy dystopic narratives streaming throughout our screens, it is no wonder why so many of us feel paralyzed by the inevitability of war, poverty, climate disaster, or AI overlords.

While those stories can be an important tool for staying informed and presenting dark futures to consider based on current events, there are few stories engaging the public imagination with possibilities of inspiring new social norms, shared values, or systems for organizing society to uplift humanity. 

What would happen if the dominant narratives in society seeded our imaginations with inspiring futures and positive alternate realities? Would our culture change?  We think so. That’s why we created Bright21st.

I believe in the power of the arts—in all forms—to imagine better futures and to get us to be emotionally invested in designing these positive, inclusive, and sustainable futures. This was fun to write; I’m happy this story paid its rent in my brain. I’m also appreciative of how these speculative and non-dystopic communities are popping up all over. Future-oriented fiction is becoming increasingly important as we navigate all the challenges of today. Redesigning our world takes a lifetime and needs a lot of work—let’s put our reps in, one story and project at a time.

Thank you to the jury and congratulations to all the other winners. You can read the stories on the website (registration required), or just my story here.

Dismantling the Apocalypse: Speculative Futures in Pandemic Times

[Bangkok and Zoom] June 10, 2020: For the FuturesX series of Speculative Futures Bangkok, I was invited to do an online talk on my work in the context of these pandemic times:

𝗙𝘂𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗫 𝘀𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗲𝘀

How can we use speculative futures to think about systems and enterprise in the COVID-19 era? In this part-science, part-art, part-design talk, Catherine Sarah Young elaborates on her experimental practice that explores our environmental and collective futures, and how using a systems-led way of thinking and global perspectives can help shape the new world emerging from the pandemic.

My favorite thing about today aside from talking art, science, design, and taekwondo: finally being able to do my first acknowledgement of country as this is my first talk in Australia: I am on Gadigal Land of the Eora Nation, traditional custodians of this land. I pay my respects to elders past, present, and future.

Drawing from my martial arts experience, I also talk about how dismantling the apocalypse is a way of life and how we should train for this for the foreseeable future:

Dismantling the apocalypse is a way of life. Let’s train!

Thanks, Speculative Futures Bangkok!

While in lockdown, I’ve been giving virtual classes via Zoom for some of the Obama Leaders’ kids and their communities. I’ve called this project “Supercharge: Creativity in Confinement”, a way to turn lockdown into a chance for growth and learning. During our pandemic times, I’m increasingly concerned about how confinement is and will continue to affect our mental health, particularly that of children.

I need backup. I need Totoro! Zoom background by Studio Ghibli

One of the activities I’ve used a lot is making a Sky Diary, where I get people to stand outside and record a part of the sky every day for at least a week. This is a mindfulness experience where we can be grateful for every day and also distinguish Monday from Tuesday from Wednesday, as the days and weeks can sometimes blur.

Sky Diary with Society Staples and Be Kind SG


Sky Diary Sydney

It was great to do classes particularly with the communities of Obama Leader Sherry Soon of Be Kind SG from Singapore and Jaton Zulueta of AHA Learning Center from the Philippines.

Supercharge with AHA Learning Center

I either volunteer or was invited to do this and I don’t say no because it’s bad karma to refuse to help children for an hour from the comfort of my Sydney flat and in any case, what a fun break from my PhD research. If you need an art class, do reach out and I’m happy to help. I will likely expand this so everyone has access so stay tuned!