Kat Austen and Rosemary Lee discuss environmental empathy, questioning its role in our relationship to climate change. They also talk about how embodiment, which Rosemary Lee describes as a feeling of ‘every sense awake’ in dance and movement, makes change feel possible in each moment, contrasting this idea with large complex systems (hyper-objects), like climate change, that are impossible to perceive with the senses. They speak about what it means to be an activist, grappling with helplessness and using cooperation as a tool to ‘construct our humanity’.
This talk was part of Crossing Borders 2018, presented in partnership with the University of Roehampton.
Kat Austen is a succession of experiences and an assemblage of aspirations. She creates artworks that explore multiple knowledges, from music to embodied knowledge to DIY science, focusing on emotional connections between what we consider internal and external. Kat is Cultural Fellow in Art and Science at the University of Leeds, lectures on UCL’s Arts and Sciences BASc, and is Artist in Residence in UCL’s Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences. Previous residencies include Artist in the Arctic (Friends of SPRI, One Ocean Expeditions and Bonhams), NYU Shanghai Gallery and ArtOxygen. Kat was an inaugural member of the London Creative Network programme. She is based in Berlin.
Rosemary Lee is a choreographer, director and performer. Over the past thirty years, she has created works ranging from live performances that are often site-specific and involve a cross-section of the community (both professional and non-professional dancers) to dance films and installations. Resonant with humanity, her work is characterised by an interest in creating a moving portraiture of both individuals and of the close performing communities she brings together. Regardless of the scale of these projects she creates a unique intimacy within her cast and with her audience whilst also exploring and highlighting our relationship with our surroundings.
Adapted from bios published in 2018