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Author Archives: Catherine Sarah Young

In the Amazon, I “performed” some experiments in the jungle, questioning how science is kept in the ivory towers and how it has failed to affect most of public policy, such as climate change.

Jungle Experiments – Amazon (1), Video (1:20)




Thank you to LABVERDE Art Immersion Program in the Amazon and photographer Gui Gomes

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“The Art of Systems Analysis”, IIASA, 2017

 

[Laxenburg, Austria] The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store, a perfume project about the things we could lose because of climate change, is featured on “The Art of Systems Analysis,” by the International Institute of Systems Analysis (IIASA). The document features projects from international artists and asks the question, “How can artists support transformations to sustainability?” Featured as well is a quote by one of my longtime scientist collaborators and The Apocalypse Project’s sustainability advisor, Dr. Matthias Berger.

 

from “The Art of Systems Analysis,” IIASA, 2017, pages 18-19

from “The Art of Systems Analysis,” IIASA, 2017

Mentioned in the article are some of the slew of residencies, workshops, talks, and exhibitions for which this particularly project has received support through the years: Singapore-ETH Future Cities Laboratory, USAID Asia, Bio-Art Seoul, Plan International (with support from BMUB Germany, International Climate Initiative, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), CCCB Lab Barcelona, 1335Mabini Manila, and my recent residency in the Amazon Rainforest with LABVERDE. Thank you for being part of the process!

I love moments like these when I can look back and thank some of the scientists who have collaborated with me. Thank you for the time and hard crits! Hope to meet you all in person one day!

Check it out here (the spread is on pages 18-19, but I encourage you to read the whole thing).

(Manaus, Brazil)—I’m back from possibly the coolest residencies I’ve ever had. From July 20th to 29th, I was in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil together with 14 other international artists. I’m very grateful to have spent this time in nature.
I learned a lot of things and got to do research for An Olfactory Portrait of the Amazon Rainforest!

LabVerde July 2017 edition. Photo by Gui Gomes, courtesy of Lab Verde.

I really liked exploring concepts about science and policy and how science should be more accessible to the public. A new project and line of inquiry came up, yipee!

Experiments in Nature, Nature in Experiments. Photo by Gui Gomes courtesy of LabVerde.

We presented our projects on the last day at the Museu da Amazonia (MUSA).

LabVerde final seminar at MUSA. Image courtesy of LabVerde.

More posts soon, as I recover from jet lag! Thanks, LabVerde, my fellow residents, and everyone else who made this happen. It was an awesome experience!

June 26-29, 2017, Kampala, Uganda—We presented Child’s Play: Climate Change through the Eyes of Children, at the 11th Community-Based Adaptation Conference hosted by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). It was fantastic to wrap up my art residency with Plan International. I’m really grateful to have presented the works by the children from all three of my workshops in Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines.

Some of the paper architecture made by children and youth from the Future Resilient Communities workshop

 

The Climatoscopes, Child’s Play edition

 

For this edition of The Climatoscope, I didn’t do the photos—the kids did! What are places in your communities that need to adapt to climate change?

 

The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store! This time, the kids made their own perfumes. I reproduced them from the recipes they gave me at the end of the workshops.

 

Storm Globes shows kids’ sculptures of things in their communities that are vulnerable to climate change.

 

Deepest thanks to Kimberly Junmookda, Plan International (especially the Indonesia, Thailand, and Philippines offices!), and the Federal Ministry for Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety Germany (BMUB).

Barcelona, Spain—From June 20-22, I was in Barcelona, Spain (one of my second homes where I attended art school, hurray!) as The Apocalypse Project is a finalist for the Cultural Innovation International Prize in CCCB. The theme of this year’s biennial prize is climate change.

There were 10 finalists from all over the world, though strangely I was the only one from Asia and I think the one based outside of the EU. How curious. But in any case, I was really grateful to be a part of it; a lot of my best friends are in Barcelona and I haven’t seen them in 7 years. How fast time flies!

On June 20, we had a workshop to explain our proposals and then we had to give a public presentation.

CCCB Cultural Innovation International Prize

Metaphors and storytelling

We had a bilingual workshop, which was mainly for me and James, from the UK

The Apocalypse Project: It’s More Fun in the Anthropocene

With some of my best friends whom I haven’t seen!

When your friends are with you, this talk was a breeze

Taekwondo besties!

My proposal, “The Apocalypse Project: It’s More Fun in the Anthropocene,” was runner-up to the prize. I’m very happy to be a part of this, and to speak about four years of collaborations in Barcelona, one of my “home cities” where my views on interdisciplinary art and science first took root. I’m glad to have seen my friends again—I rarely travel for tourism because of the carbon—so this was a very meaningful trip! Onwards and upwards!

Fang, Chiang Mai—It was June 3rd, my birthday, and what better way to spend it than with children and youth for my final workshop as artist-in-residence of Plan International! We made perfumes, sculptures, theater, and paper architecture. Here are some photos, and thank you, Plan International Bangkok and Chiang Mai chapters, plus Kim Junmookda, my residency host!

Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines—Last May 6, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Tacloban City, thanks to my ongoing art residency with Plan International. Tacloban was a city that was devastated by Supertyphoon Haiyan / Yolanda in 2013. I founded The Apocalypse Project around the same time, and this city figures well in my talks.

Four years later, the city has shown amazing physical recovery. A ship that ran aground has been turned into a memorial:

Another ship that went aground

I hopped on a tricycle and paid my respects to one of the mass graves for Haiyan victims:

A mass grave in Tacloban for Haiyan / Yolanda victims

I was a bit alarmed at people who rebuilt their houses by the sea:

People rebuilt their houses by the sea

Resilience involves adaptive design. Here is a new sign that alerts for storm surges, which is a new term the residents learned, as the waves had never been that high before:

Storm surge sign

I tried to put myself in the position of people who lost their houses. Even the big ones didn’t stand a chance:

A house devastated by Haiyan

The next day was my workshop on art and climate change. I was a bit nervous—for the past years I had to encourage people to widen their imaginations on climate change events, and here I was with young people who had experienced way more than I had:

Workshop time!

We made some perfumes for The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store:

Perfume making

And made science fiction shadow puppet theater:

Shadow puppet theater workshop

perfumes

We also made sculptures for a new project I’ll be releasing in a few months:

sculpture of a tree that fell down because of the superstorm

 

It was the kids’ first brush with polymer clay, and it was fun toasting these in the oven.

 

Sculpture time! How lovely are these!

 

perfumes and sculptures

The kids’ favorite activity was building resilient communities using paper:

Cutting up paper infrastructure and nature for climate resilient communities!

 

Resilient architecture building!

 

It was a true honor to work with these young people. I can’t wait to turn these outcomes into a proper exhibition! Stay tuned.

Thank you to  Plan International Tacloban staff and Kim Junmookda! As always, this was super fun!