I wrote an article about four years of The Apocalypse Project for Imperica Magazine, an arts and tech publication based in Oxford, UK. Grab a copy online, or check out the full text of my piece, The Apocalypse Project: Investigating Cities and Climate Change through Art and Science, on the project website.
Saturday, September 17, 2016, 6 pm
September 17 to October 14, 2016
1335Mabini presents The Apocalypse Project: Urban Harvest, a solo exhibition by Catherine Sarah Young from 17 September to 14 October 2016.
The show explores potential futures under climate change through various forms including photographs, sculptures as well as soap and olfactory artworks crafted from unique saponification and distillation processes developed by the artist. The Apocalypse Project is an interdisciplinary platform that began in 2013 during Young’s art-science residency at the Singapore-ETH Zurich Future Cities Laboratory and has since then been showcased in several cities internationally. Featured in the upcoming exhibition are new pieces from some of Young’s ongoing projects (Climate Change Couture, The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store, and The Sewer Soaperie) and are a result of her month-long residency in Medellin, Colombia, held at arts organizations Casa Tres Patios and Platohedro, and supported by Arts Collaboratory and the Ministry of Culture of Colombia.
From the 1335Mabini website. Thanks guys!
This November I find myself in Seoul for the Bio-Art Seoul 2015 Conference. It’s great to be back here in Korea, which is turning into a yearly homecoming of a sort. Annyunghaseyo!
For my bit in the show, I presented the second volume of The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store. There were eight new scents I debuted here. The line was called “A Walk Home” and it was based on the scents of my childhood in the Philippines. These olfactory memories were especially potent when I moved to Manila last year after ten years of being away.
The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store: A Walk Home has these eight scents: Recess, A Chinese Apothecary, Time with My Mom, Swimming Lessons, Wild Grass, Manila Sunsets, Carnival, and Moments of Solitude.
During the exhibition, it was fun to see families smell the perfumes. My favorite part was when I saw the little kids trying them on, especially the really small ones who had to tiptoe to reach the bottles. It was so cute when one group of little boys gathered around, each taking a bottle, and sprayed it on himself. (I pity the ones who got the perfumes marked “Recess” and “A Chinese Apothecary”.)
And now, a cathartic release by writing about an embarrassing moment. It was the exhibition opening, and man, I was so excited to do my first Korean ribbon cutting—complete with the white gloves and golden scissors, yo! I was nervous to cut it in advance like I’ve seen people do when what I should have been worried about was not catching the darn things after you snip them.
I’m the sad chick second from left with the pile of ribbons on the floor. Sigh. No one ever tells me these things. Hmph.
For the record, I still think it’s a lot cooler to let everything dramatically fall to the floor. Hello. It’s a grand opening. Just kidding.
Artist Talk: Wet Media Conference
In Sogang University’s Department Art and Technology, artists (including yours truly) gave talks on their work. My talk, entitled “Living SciFi: Bio-Art and our Futures” drew on my journey through science, art, and design, ending with the show at the Institute for the Future and what I’ve learned here so far.
It was also great to meet some bio-artists. Personally, I identify more with the terms “conceptual artist” and “sci-art” since I currently work with so many different fields of sciences and haven’t stuck to just one, so it was great to learn from these guys, especially those whose work I’ve heard so much about. Mad props to Anna Dumitriu, Vicky Isley and Paul Smith of boredomresearch, Sonja Baeumel, Roberta Trentin, etc. It was cool to meet you guys!
Workshop: Making Smells of Perfumes
A week after the opening, I also did a perfumery workshop with some high school and university students in Korea. There was a group of biology students that were accompanied by their teacher. In the beginning, the students participated in my olfactory memory experiment where they were given mystery smells and then were asked to recall the memory that came to mind.
Later, I asked them to do a Smell Walk and gather objects from nature that they want to make a perfume of. We distilled essential oils and also used some from my own collection of essential oils. It was exciting as one distillation flask caught fire (the kids put it out in time and no one was hurt).
I loved that one of the museum staff participated and insisted on making a banana-flavored perfume. He was a fun student. For the record, I insisted that he tuck his tie so it wouldn’t catch fire.
After the distillation, I also got them to create perfumes using the commercial essential oils I have in my personal collection.
I gave them Apocalypse Project Commander badges as a reward for all their hard work. Thanks, guys!
Aaaannnd that’s officially it for me for 2015. No more exhibitions, talks, workshops, interviews, etc. for the rest of the year. I’ll be in Seoul until November 29th reflecting on the year that was and what to do next. You know I’m not a big fan of this part. A bit of Korean hiking should knock me to my senses. Are you in town? Come join me!
Many thanks to Bio-Art Seoul 2015, Biocon, Seoulin Bioscience Co., and Digital Art Weeks International. Thank you especially to Dr. Sunghoon Kim and Helen Kwak!
For the past few months, I have been involved with a project by The Mind Museum, called A Glass of the Sea (AGoS), an exhibition about the Coral Triangle. Scientists from the California Academy of Sciences have been exploring the Verde Island Passage of the CT and have been discovering an abundance of new species. The Verde Island Passage may well be the apex of marine biodiversity on the planet. How amazing!
The AGoS team was led by The Mind Museum curator Maribel Garcia, Bryant Cabantac, Cris Mora, Carlie Dario, Dem Bitantes, Awesome Lab, and myself. The exhibition is made possible by a grant from USAID.
I did the graphic design of the exhibition. I was inspired by kimono fabrics on my visit in Japan, especially their vibrant and classy colors. We applied this to priming tunnels that are shaped like Asian folding fans as well as English and Filipino signage throughout the exhibition.
You haven’t lived until you’ve done graphic designs of bilingual translations about science. For real. Here’s a fun shot of Darwin and I during installation, while we wrestled with industrial strength velcro.
In “A Story of the Science of the Sea”, visitors are invited to take a wooden sculpture etched with a sea creature on top, and place it on an NFC reader to watch it come to life on screen. Audio narration gives more information about the creature. This was designed by Cris Mora.
We also made specially designed video games that each highlight one problem in our oceans. I designed the games while the awesome people at Awesome Labs programmed them.
One game is Garbage Catch, where the user has to prevent garbage from reaching the ocean floor.
Another game is Net Escape, where you prevent unsustainable seafood from swimming into a large net.
The last game is Sustainable Seafood Market, where users are given two seafood options at a time. They must pick the sustainable over the unsustainable seafood. This was the toughest game for me to design, but it’s my favorite among the three. We initially called this Sushi Tinder (which is way catchier). I dedicate this to the chick I met who said she eats shark’s fin soup in weddings because “it’s already there”. RAGE.
After each game, the user can make a pledge to take care of the ocean. The pledges are all different and specific, such as “I pledge not to eat or buy shark’s fin soup from restaurants.”
Your Role in Sea Life highlights your impact on the ocean. Cris Mora made these amazing shadow sculptures out of garbage, showing an impaled turtle (one of the many species that suffer because of what mankind is doing to the oceans), cities which contribute to ocean problems, and the earth in the palm of a hand.
AGoS is made of primarily sustainable materials, such as the bamboo framework that houses the exhibition.
It also features an education space entitled “Ocean in Motion” where visitors can make their own sea creatures, learn about marine protected areas, etc.
We launched this yesterday, July 16, at The Mind Museum. The exhibition will stay there until October and then will get to travel all over the Philippines. Hurray!
Thanks for coming, Mom!
Here are some photos from The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store’s exhibit at the Open City / Art City Festival last October 4, co-organized the Institute for the Future and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Many thanks and huge congratulations to my friend Zoe Bezpalko (who also modeled one of the Climate Change Couture garments last year and is shown in the above photo wearing an Apocalypse Suit), for handling this single-handedly.
I’m here in Seoul for the moment for some exhibitions and a panel, so I’m very grateful for my friends and collaborators from all over the world who can take over when I cannot physically be there.
Photos courtesy of Zoe Bezpalko
Happy and proud of everyone at Future Feast / GoExperience Redesign! This proved to me that it was possible to get a lot of people of different talents together in the name of raising climate change awareness. It was one big amazing group hug for all humanity.
Check out Radio Republic’s photos here.
Also watch their video below:
This officially marks the end of my residency and exhibition at The Mind Museum. You all know I hate this part. I’ll be taking some time to decompress and think about next steps. In the meantime, The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store has been getting some traction online, so I’m fielding interviews on that end. Updates soon, and thanks for keeping up with the projects!