The Weighing of the Heart” is currently on exhibition for the group exhibition “Stress Rehearsal” at das weisse haus in Vienna, one of my previous and favorite home cities! Thank you to The Peace Studio to which I first presented this work, curator-in-residence @malousolfjeld for her support, the UNSW Design Futures Lab , my accidental home for the past month, and my PhD supervisors!

The Weighing of the Heart


Australian bushfire remains, resin

Human heart sculptures are cast out of ashes and other organic remains from the Australian bushfires. I reference the scene of the “Weighing of the Heart”, a spell in the Egyptian Book of the Dead in which the heart of Imhotep is weighed against a feather. If the heart fails to balance it will be eaten by the beast, Ammut, and Imhotep will be condemned. If the scales remain balanced, Imhotep enters the afterlife with the other blessed dead. In casting the ashes with resin, I arrest metabolism of the remains back into the soil, creating objects of memory in a political landscape that forgets the bushfire crisis periodically, only to remember them when the next bushfire crisis commences with greater intensity.

From the curatorial statement:

with Mohamed Allam, Will Benedict, Daniel Mølholt Bülow, Gillian Brett, Rah Eleh, Rachel Fäth, Line Finderup Jensen mit Adnan Popovič, Juri Schaden & Parastu Gharabaghi, Lola Gonzàlez, Hanna Husberg & Laura McLean, Mohammed Laouli, Yein Lee, Elisabeth Molin, Jean Painlevé, Oliver Ressler, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Catherine Sarah Young
curated by Malou Solfjeld (Curator in Residence 2020)

Exhibition duration: October 29 – December 12, 2020
Exhibition start: October 28, 2020, 4-9pm

Expressions of solidarity on balconies, grounded planes on international airfields, tales of a reviving non-human natural world – for many, the COVID-19 pandemic nurtures hopes for more communal, equal and caring futures. At the same time, however, the global health crisis gives reasons for more dystopian prospects of co-existence on this planet. Among other things, it further mobilises xenophobic sentiments and multiplies social inequalities. More so, it has thwarted the momentum of climate activism in the media to the extent that scholars like the French philosopher Bruno Latour have declared the pandemic a “dress rehearsal” for the exacerbating climate catastrophe ahead of us. 

Deliberately emphasising and yet not isolating ecological queries and concerns, the group exhibition “Stress Rehearsal” zooms into the abyss; into the bushfire in Australia, oil tanks sinking into the ocean, into the sea level rise on the Maldives and open landfills in Morocco. It brings together works by an international cohort of artists to critically reflect on the entanglements of the global pandemic, climate crisis, mass extinction, social inequality and turbo-capitalism. Gathering a hybridity of perspectives from the past, present and future, “Stress Rehearsal” collapses the linearity of time in order to activate our senses in the here and now. What is our individual as well as our collective responsibility towards more livable futures? What kind of new forms of agency do we need to craft in order to co-shape worlds-in-common – on- and offline, with the living and the non-living? 

The exhibition unpacks questions like these in three different sections; We created this beast (referring to Bram Ieven and Jan Overwijk’s eponymous text), The pandemic as a dress rehearsal (in line with Bruno Latour’s essay Is this a dress rehearsal?) and The pandemic is a portal (alluring to Arundhati Roy’s eponymous article). The latter division is conceived as a laboratory of sorts, an accumulating digital archive of links and texts, videos and images. It serves as a multi-vocal platform where artists, curators, scholars, activists and visitors alike are invited to contribute and negotiate visions and perspectives on how to live together otherwise. The show consciously hosts a majority of video works as a means to reflect on contemporary modes of perception and consumption. It has been developed by the curator Malou Solfjeld with the support of Alexandra Grausam, Aline Lenzhofer and Frederike Sperling from das weisse haus team.

Find the link to the exhibition here.

It’s almost 2019, and what a year 2018 has been! Here’s a year in review:


I started the year decluttering my parents’ house, stopped needing a cane from a hip injury, went back to training in taekwondo again, made lots of new friends, and reconnected with old ones. My dad was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor and is back in Manila from treatment in New York. Apart from residency/fellowship travel (see below), I visited Lucerne (to see a friend), Bratislava, Berlin, Salzburg, and Bangkok (with extended family).

Research: Philippine jungles

I visited Cleopatra’s Needle Critical Habitat sponsored by Great Escapes Philippines and Centre for Sustainability PH.

Exhibitions: Manila, Germany, Dublin

The Sewer Soaperie and An Olfactory Portrait of the Amazon Rainforest were part of the Manila Biennale in February. The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store was part of “Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design” at the Vitra Design Museum in Germany in September, and was also part of Science Gallery Dublin’s In Case of Emergency exhibition which closed in February.

Projects, Residencies, Fellowships, Awards: Vienna, Beijing, Taipei

From April to June I did a visual arts residency with KulturKontakt Austria and the Austrian Federal Chancellery. I produced another body of work, Wild Science, which explores the role of science in society. There were fun collaborations, such as with Dr. Gerhard Heindl of the Schönbrunn Tiergarten for this piece, Der Tiergarten 1.0: Human Forces on the Animal Kingdom, and a photo shoot with some cool herpetologists and taxidermists at the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien (Natural History Museum, Vienna). I also produced Letters for Science and asked youth from Eferding, Austria to write letters to climate change deniers.

In Manila in September, we finished photo and video shoots of The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store and The Sewer Soaperie. I also started doing research for Wild Science on religion and beliefs in Quiapo, a part of Manila where Catholicism, Islam, and paganism intersect.

In Beijing in November for part 1 of the Crystal Ruth Bell Residency with China Residencies and Red Gate Gallery, I performed The Planetary Renewal Spa for the first time and did research for Future Feast. I’ll be back in March 2019 to finish the project.

I’m one of the ten inaugural SEAΔ fellows of the Mekong Cultural Hub and the British Council with part 1 held in Taipei in late November. We were divided into four groups, and mine will meet in Cambodia in May 2019 to execute our project. We will all be together to present the outcomes in Bangkok in June and reflect on the program in September.

I did the second Year for the Planet edition, focusing on my clothing choices.

The Apocalypse Project was shortlisted for Best Climate Solutions Award by Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC).

This year’s Ritual Card is a Sunset Wheel, based on the cyanometer used by Alexander von Humboldt.

Talks: From Mental Health to Art and Social Norms

I spoke about artists and mental health in Manila, and spoke about art, science and social norms at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and in Crossboundaries Beijing.


I’m one of ArtReview Asia’s Future Greats for their Summer issue and was featured in my alma mater, the SVA NYC’s Visual Arts Journal for the Fall issue. I wrote an article for Vienna-based contemporary art magazine Springerin, entitled “A Different Shape of Progress: Contemporary Art and Social Inclusion.” I was part of a podcast by America Adapts (Episode 78: Flooding, Climate Change, and Art).

If you have been part of my year at all, thank you very much for your support! Here’s to another productive year. May 2019 be full of new work, growth, relationships, and life!






It’s that time of the year when I finish all residencies, fellowships, talks, and exhibitions, and reflect on the year that’s about to pass. It’s been a wonderful year of learning from different cultures and finding other ways of pursuing my practice. In 2018, I held residencies and fellowships in Vienna (KulturKontakt Austria and the Austrian Federal Chancellery), Beijing (China Residencies and Red Gate Gallery), and Taipei (Mekong Cultural Hub and the British Council). This post recalls some of my favorite memories during my Vienna residency.

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Upside down castle! 🏰😍 #SchlossWalks

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My residency with KulturKontakt Austria and the Austrian Federal Chancellery was, without a doubt, one of the best and most rewarding residencies I’ve had. Being in the quiet environment of the Schloss Laudon complex, having a very supportive staff (Hi Nicole and Brigitte!) and wonderful collaborators, and having freedom and time made me push myself and not waste a day. It also helped that I was around nature and was able to go hiking every day if I wished. I came out with another body of work and more questions that I hope to pursue as I move forward.

Here are memories that I took away from Vienna and hope to return to one day:

1. The museums

Specifically, I could live in the Naturhustorisches Museum Wien (Natural History Museum, Vienna), and bunk in the meteorite room and hang out with the taxidermists and herpetologists. Then I can take a break by going across the plaza to check out the cabinet of curiosities at the Kunsthistorisches Museum. Then walk across the street to MuseumsQuartier and take a nap on one of the purple benches. It was fantastic to drink in all of this knowledge and be inspired by it.



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The meteorite room! Hello again, lover. 😍

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2. The Tiergarten

I love animals and have always been seeking to incorporate zoology (one of the subjects my mom used to teach) into my work, so it was such joy to work with Gerhard Heindl, the historian of the oldest zoo in the world, to produce our collaborative piece, Der Tiergarten 1.0: Human Forces on the Animal Kingdom.



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It was really great to welcome Dr. Gerhard Heindl at our group show at the Federal Chancellery exhibition hall yesterday! Dr. Heindl is the historian of the Schönbrunn Zoo, whom I’ve been collaborating since the beginning of my residency with KulturKontakt Austria. Together we produced this project for Wild Science: Der Tiergarten 1.0: Human Forces on the Animal Kingdom is a board game that illustrates the human forces that affect the animal kingdom and, consequently, the biodiversity of the planet. The two-person game allows the players to reflect on the effects of border walls, climate change, poaching, etc., while moving game pieces on the board. The wood was taken from a 100-plus-year-old dying maple tree that was planted in the Schönbrunn Tiergarten, the oldest zoo in the world, and was cut to prevent safety hazards. The artist then sanded and laser-engraved it with a design based on the original menagerie plans of the Tiergarten by Jean Nicolas Jadot de Ville-Issey in 1751. The game cards include archival images of animals in the Tiergarten with images dating before World War II. The game recalls popular card games such as Pokemon and Exploding Kittens, whose strategies for mass attention the artist reflected on. What might we do to make people think about biodiversity in their daily lives? #WildScience #DerTiergarten #SchonbrunnTiergarten

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It was also a treat to go around the zoo in a golf cart to carry some 100+ year old wood!



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When the historian of the world’s oldest zoo personally drives you with a suitcase full of stuff for your collaboration. 😂😍 Danke for the lift, Dr. Heindl! #WildScience

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3. Schloss Laudon and Augustinerwald

I miss the castle that we were never allowed into. And the swans and flowers. And those two sculptures of wild boars. And the room that used to be a sauna that was turned into art studios. And most of all, the stories of previous residents.

I also miss my bathtub, the Schloss Laudon fox, the trees I would say hello to, the bugs, etc.



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Gonna miss you, Schloss Laudon fox! Good to see you on our last days. #SchlossWalks

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There were no taekwondo schools nearby so I had to find other ways of being centered. Thankfully, there was a forest right outside the schloss, so off I went many times. Being in nature is one way to flex our muscle against capitalism and fascism, so this is one thing I always make time for:



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Hiking my normal route counterclockwise is definitely a lot better. Look at this light! 😍 Plus the muddy parts become uphill and easier and I shaved off 15 minutes from my usual time. 😀

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4. My fellow residents
As KulturKontakt Austria’s first artist-in-residence from the Philippines (sheesh, aren’t I always the first artist from the Philippines?), it was very mind-expanding to meet fantastic artists from Eastern Europe. To most Asians, when we think of Europe it’s usually the London-Paris-Barcelona triad and nearby, perhaps similar to how Westerners automatically think “Japan” or “China” when they think of Asia. Perhaps we surprised each other. It’s always a very humanizing event to meet different people and realize how very similar we are. Not to mention how amazing their food is.



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What a gorgeous day for a picnic! 😍

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5. My non-residency friends
Isn’t it great to click with people from all over the world? In this residency I met some activists, translators, artists, and many other people who made my three-month stay in Vienna seem as though I was home. There are still lots of freethinking people in Austria; I highly recommend checking it out!



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One Manileño down, one to go. We’ll miss you, Poklong! Even me; I live in Malate and you’re in QC! 😂

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6. New skills
Each project makes me want to push myself and learn something new, so it is with a lot of pride and excitement that I report that I can now work with a belt sander and a laser engraver. The latter is only after a lot of help from German-speaking people at HappyLab. I’m a member of a maker lab—how miraculous is that?



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This century-old tree took so long to work on. Now I need a massage. But very happy to work with my hands. 😂😍 #ChicksWithPowerTools #WildScience

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7. Working with kids
I think working with children and youth will always be part of my practice, so hurray for the first group of writers for Letters for Science!

8. Being around the history of science and art
From carrying a pizza box outside Johannes Kepler’s old apartment to having coffee in Gustav Klimt’s old stomping grounds, Austria is pretty fantastic for art-science nerds like me.

9. The Naschmarkt


If I add up the ages of all the old science books I bought, they will span centuries. I miss my Saturday routine of grabbing a couple of Kaspressknödel and saying hello to my favorite booksellers, Gerard and Idris.



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Last day in the flea market and said goodbye to my favorite stalls. Going to miss these century-plus-old books! 😍😭

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I also unwittingly built a collection of Nazi books, including a 1938 Mein Kampf. I’m still hoping to incorporate into a project. (I only read half of it; how depressing to read someone’s unadulterated hatred for other people.)


10. The cakes
Hey Austria, when I finally lose the 10 pounds I gained from three months of eating Sachertorte, I hope to see you again.



Thanks for everything, Vienna! Hope to see you again soon!


From April to June 2018, I was artist-in-residence of KulturKontakt Austria and the Austrian Federal Chancellery. The body of work produced during this time was Wild Science.


Wild Science debuted at the group exhibition of the artists-in-residence supported by the Austrian Federal Chancellery and KulturKontakt Austria. Shown in the exhibition are Der Tiergarten 1.0: Human Forces in the Animal Kingdom, Scientific Method, The People’s Cabinet of Curiosities, Letters for Science, and Poetic Microscopy. The show runs from June 11 to 21 at the exhibition hall of the Chancellery at Concordiaplatz in Vienna, Austria.


Hello, friends in Vienna! I’ll be giving an artist presentation together with two other artists in the KulturKontakt Austria fellowship programme. Come listen to our talks on April 16th at 18:00. Details below:

An Olfactory Portrait of the Amazon Rainforest (image courtesy of Science Gallery Dublin)

Datum | 16.04.2018, 18.00 h
Ort | Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, Atelierhaus, Lehargasse 8, 1060 Wien, 1. OG Atelier Süd

Catherine Sarah Young (Philippines), Sasa Tatic (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Robin Waart (The Netherlands) organized by Marina Grzinic, Studio for Conceptual Art (Post-conceptual Art Practices) at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.

Catherine Sarah Young
Art, Science, and Norms: How Interdisciplinary Art can Inspire Behavioral Change

How can interdisciplinary art strive to affect social change? Young has developed both individual and collaborative projects that raise awareness on climate change, science policy, and various systems that govern the beliefs of society and the sustainability of the planet.

CV: Catherine Sarah Young is a Chinese-Filipina artist, designer, and writer. She holds an MFA in Interaction Design from the School of Visual Arts in New York City as a Fulbright scholar and a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and biotechnology from the University of the Philippines.She investigates nature, and the tensions between nature and technology. She has an international exhibition, residency, and awards profile and has collaborated with scientists, companies, non-profit organizations, and communities, most recently around Southeast Asia, Uganda, and the Amazon rainforest.

Many thanks, Prof. Marina Grzinic for the kind invitation!

Check out the links on the websites of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and KulturKontakt Austria.

I’m thrilled to be selected from a pool of 985 artists to do a three-month residency in Vienna commencing in April by the Bundeskanzleramt Österreich / Austrian Federal Chancellery and KulturKontakt Austria.

I’m very honored to have met Her Excellency Ambassador Bita Rasoulian who wished me well before I left Manila.

With Her Excellency Ambassador of Austria to the Philippines Bita Rasoulian


I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running in Vienna, my 8th residency city, and continuing my work on art and science, picking up from where I left off in the Amazon. Our artist profiles are on the KulturKontakt Austria website.

The residency runs from April 6 to June 30. Today was my first day after a long flight. Schloss Laudon, where the residency is, is quite lovely and gives me a great daily walking ritual on the castle grounds.

Schloss Laudon

Alexander von Humboldt and Caroline Herschel!


Lavender and Rosemary

We artists are in a nearby building; they use this castle for seminars and stuff. It’s nice to look at, though after decluttering a house I’ve no desire to live in excess. There are two swans I’ve named Alexander von Humboldt and Caroline Herschel and two frogs I’ve christened Lavender and Rosemary that I say hello to.

I almost never travel as a tourist—all that carbon to take the same photos as everyone—that I realize that packing 30 kilos is always a challenge because I bring my life to another country in order to produce things instead of to shop. In trying to keep with my healthy and zero waste (more like Zero Waste as Much as Possible) lifestyle, I bring my arsenal of spices and superfoods to keep me healthy despite being in another country. Since an airline lost my bags two years ago, luggage anxiety is a real thing for me. Thankfully, everything made it, even the hot sauce.

The hot sauce made it!

So much to learn, make, and do! Very grateful for all the fantastic support and excited for all that is to come!

This residency is made possible as part of the Artists in Residence programme of the Federal Chancellery and KulturKontakt Austria.