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Some official photos from the Cultural Center of the Philippines of The Weighing of the Heart, a sculptural series depicting human heart sculptures cast out of the ashes of the Australian bushfires, for the exhibition of the 2021 Thirteen Artist Awards, the oldest government award for artists from the Philippines.

The show runs until 5 June 2022 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Visit bit.ly/visit2021TAA for health protocols.

Support for this project includes funding from the UNSW Scientia scholarship and technical support from the UNSW Design Futures Lab.

Critic John Alexis Balaguer of art and design magazine Kanto writes about the CCP Thirteen Artists Awards exhibition and features The Weighing of the Heart. Thank you very much!

“Catherine Sarah Young’s sculptures of human hearts, The Weighing of the Heart (2022) are cast from the ashes of the Australian bushfires in 2019-2020 and are exhibited wall-bound in grid-form, creating emphasis on the iterative subject. Referencing the Egyptian scene of the weighing of Imhotep’s heart against a feather, the works touch upon notions of grief and loss, and our emotional memories from crises. “The climate emergency will continue to be one of the biggest challenges of our time,” Young shares, “The arts have an important role in creating inclusive spaces for us to process our collective grief with the damage to the planet and to vulnerable communities worldwide.”

“The artist-awardees of the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Thirteen Artists all exhibit critical perspectives on contemporary challenges in society, from invoking socio-political histories, critiquing structures and systems, listening and giving voice to minorities, exercising climate consciousness, and providing avenues for sharing interpersonal realities. In this time of crisis, one might ask how art might provide reflections, solutions, safe spaces, or possibilities in reimagining a new world–a daunting task for the art community, no doubt, yet readily acceded by thirteen young artists of the new contemporary. With this award and exhibition, more than the showcase is the show of cases, that the world might be presented as it is, so we are able to see art and life as no different. “This year’s artists call into question the very notion of presence,” curator Shireen Seno declares, with a radical evaluation, “this is a show about the gaps, the lapses, and the others that characterize our time.”

Read the article here.

Balaguer, J.A. “CCP Thirteen Artists 2021: Presence and Possibilities.” Kanto magazine. 29 March 2022. https://kanto.com.ph/objects/ccp-thirteen-artists-2022/

Culture², a Toronto-based organization, is hosting their first online conference on community science, creative biology, and ancestral knowledge this Aug 28 + 29, 2021. I’m excited to be one of their speakers. Get your ticket here and see you there! 

This August 28th + 29th, 2021 we invite you to join us for our first conference where farmers, community activists, climate educators, artists, and practitioners will be sharing their wisdom in relation to the pillars of community science, creative biology, and ancestral knowledge.

Image: Culture²

Update: Video up on Vimeo here.

Thank you for having me!

I’m really honored to have contributed the cover image to this important book on migration and global justice co-edited by my friend Prof. Claudia Tazreiter! I took this image in 2017 as artist-in-residence of Plan International, where I visited youth in Lewoleba in Indonesia; Chiang-Mai in Thailand, and Tacloban in the Philippines. In Tacloban, a local tricycle driver took me around the city to witness the aftermath of Supertyphoon Haiyan that devastated Tacloban in 2013. The image shows a fishing vessel that had run aground Philippine soil during Haiyan.

 Working with children and youth who were affected by the climate emergency was one of the most impactful and humbling times of my artistic practice, and I am still grateful to Plan for the opportunity to co-create artworks on climate with them. 

The residency was facilitated by Plan International’s offices in Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines as well as the International Climate Initiative (IKI) based in Berlin. More on the residency outcomes here: https://www.international-climate-initiative.com/en/news/article/interview_to_know_the_colour_of_water/

The Handbook of Migration and Global Justice is published by Elgar Handbooks and is edited by Dr. Leanne Weber, Professor of Criminology, University of Canberra, Australia and Dr. Claudia Tazreiter, Professor in Ethnic and Migration Studies, Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society, Linköping University, Sweden. This timely Handbook brings together leading international scholars from a range of disciplinary backgrounds and geopolitical perspectives to interrogate the intersections between #migration and global #justice. It explores how cross-border mobility and migration have been affected by rapid economic, cultural and technological globalisation, addressing the pressing questions of global justice that arise as governments respond to unprecedented levels of global migration. Available here: https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/gbp/handbook-of-migration-and-global-justice-9781789905656.html

I will be presenting The Weighing of the Hearts and Burned Lines for ASLE-USA’s Emergence/y Conference in a few weeks!

The Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE) seeks to inspire and promote intellectual work in the environmental humanities and arts.

The Weighing of the Heart is a sculptural series where I cast the residues of the bushfires into human hearts.

Burned Lines is a series where I rewrite climate change denier text addressed to me using ink made from the ashes of the bushfires.

Register at http://www.asle.org

June 17, 4-5PM AEST: How can art and science work together to contribute towards sustainability? I’m stoked to give a talk on The Creative Resistance: Art, Science, and Systems Change, and be on the panel on Arts-based Methods for Transformations 2021! I’ll be speaking about my art practice since 2013, and will focus on my PhD work here in Sydney. See you there!


About Transformations 2021: Enabling Positive Tipping Points in an Uncertain World


In 2020 a tipping point may have been crossed on how societies worldwide deal with multiple overlapping crises. On an unprecedented scale we see groups and communities mobilizing to re-imagine and transform the pre-pandemic systems which led to current vulnerabilities, risks, and unsustainable practices. This challenging but also fertile moment calls for urgent knowledge synthesis able to enact positivetipping points and tipping interventions towards new regenerative development trajectories.

Keynote speakers:
Jessica Clark – Research affiliate at MIT Open Documentary Lab, publisher of Immerse.news

Kate Raworth – Co-founder of Doughnut Economics Action Lab

Ailton Krenak – Philosopher and indigenous movement leader of Krenak ethnicity, Brazil

Heila Lotz-Sisitka – Distinguished Professor at Rhodes University


More at https://www.transformationscommunity.org/conference-2021


#transformationsconference2021

Our Entangled Future, a climate fiction anthology of inspiring and hopeful stories, will have two virtual readings this month. I will be reading my olfactory story, The Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store, for the second event. The series is hosted by cCHANGE Transformation in a Changing Climate and AdaptationConnects at the Department of Human Geography of the University of Oslo. Come spritz your favorite scent while I read you my story!

Series 1: 9:00 -10.30am CEST, Thursday 13 May 2021 (5-6:30PM Sydney)
Series 2: 9:00 -10.30am CEST, Friday 21 May 2021 (5-6:30PM Sydney)

Register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/our-entangled-future-virtual-readings-tickets-152750694439

UPDATE: You can view the recording on YouTube here.

I’m stoked to contribute my first academic book chapter in Communicating in the Anthropocene: Intimate Relations” edited by Vail Fletcher and Alexa Dare. I’ve given the final chapter: Subversive Art: Communicating the Climate Crisis on a Planetary Scale, which details my art practice, specifically The Apocalypse Project body of work.

cover art by Nina and Sonya Montenegro from The Far Woods art house

The purpose of Communicating in the Anthropocene: Intimate Relations is to tell a different story about the world. Humans, especially those raised in Western traditions, have long told stories about themselves as individual protagonists who act with varying degrees of free will against a background of mute supporting characters and inert landscapes. Humans can be either saviors or destroyers, but our actions are explained and judged again and again as emanating from the individual. And yet, as the coronavirus pandemic has made clear, humans are unavoidably interconnected not only with other humans, but with nonhuman and more-than-human others with whom we share space and time. Why do so many of us humans avoid, deny, or resist a view of the world where our lives are made possible, maybe even made richer, through connection? In this volume, we suggest a view of communication as intimacy. We use this concept as a provocation for thinking about how we humans are in an always-already state of being-in-relation with other humans, nonhumans, and the land.

The book is edited by C. Vail Fletcher And Alexa M. Dare with contributions from Carol Adams; Paul Alberts; Katharina Alsen; Anne Armstrong; Joshua Trey Barnett; Christianna Bennett; Peggy Bowers; Suzanne Brant; Chelsea Call; Laura C Carlson; Patricia Castello Branco; Amal Dissanayaka; Marybeth Holleman; Jessica Holmes; Kathy Isaacson; Deepani Jayantha; Michaela Keeble; Marianne Krasny; Libby Lester; Todd Levasseur; Lyn Mcgaurr; S. Marek Muller; Anna Oehlkers; Peter Oehlkers; Elizabeth Oriel; Emily Plec; Joshua Potter; Paul Pulé; Jenny Rock; Madrone Kalil Schutten; Ellen Sima; Richard Stedman; Carie Steele; Mark Terry; Mariko Oyama Thomas; Keith Williams; Çağri Yilmaz and Catherine Sarah Young.

Order the book here.

Hello friends,

inVivo, a collaborative network for planetary health, is holding its 9th annual conference virtually from December 2-9. I’ve been invited to speak at Session 2 for a short talk on “The Artist as Rebel” and by artist, I mean all of us.

There is an opening keynote by Cornel West and keynote address by Deepak Chopra and lots of speakers from various disciplines. 

Register here: https://www.invivoplanet.com/registration.html

Full program here: https://www.invivoplanet.com/program.html

You can view my talk here.

Hope to see you! 😘

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

2020

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.