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July 2, 2024, Brussels, Belgium / Online

Kat Austen, How to Touch a Dragonfly, Immersive Installation, 2023. @Kat Austen
Kat Austen, How to Touch a Dragonfly, Immersive Installation, 2023. @Kat Austen

As part of LASER Talks Brussels

July 2, 2024 at 7 pm CET. Find your timezone here.

Gluon — art&research&education platform

Rue de l'abattoir / Slachthuisstraat 4-6

1000 Brussels, Belgium

Chair: Alexandra Dementieva

Panelists: Kat Austen and Stijn Demeulenaere

Moderator: Peter Friess

Environmental justice extends beyond human concerns, encompassing the intricate lives of non-human species that share our planet. Two artists, Kat Austen and Stijn Demeulenaere, delve into this topic through their exploration of the impacts of pollution on insects and marine life, respectively.

Kat Austen focuses on insects as bioindicators of environmental health, specifically examining how dragonflies reflect changing ecosystems due to various forms of pollution. Her work raises crucial questions: "What are we doing to change the habitability of landscapes for these insects?" By using dragonflies and other insects as indicators, Austen highlights how climate change and pollutants disrupt their distributions, signaling broader ecological imbalances. 

Stijn Demeulenaere shifts our attention to sound pollution in the ocean, particularly in the North Sea. In this underwater world, where visibility is limited to a few meters, sound becomes the primary medium for communication, navigation, foraging, and mating among marine life. Demeulenaere's work reveals the profound effects of human-induced noise on this "sonic world," a language both mysterious and crucial to aquatic species. 

Together, Austen and Demeulenaere's works highlight the importance of understanding and mitigating the various forms of pollution that affect non-human species. 

Kat Austen

Kat Austen is a person. In her artistic practice, she focusses on environmental issues. She creates sculptural and new media installations, performances and participatory work that orient around sound. Austen’s practice is underpinned by extensive research and theory, and driven by a motivation to explore how to move towards a more socially and environmentally just future. Austen’s work often explores empathy with non-humans and more-than-humans, climate crisis, pervasive pollution, landscape remediation and the post-Anthropocene. Working from her studios in Seoul and Berlin, she is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and holds a Ph.D. from UCL in Chemistry. Austen has exhibited at Changwon Sculpture Biennale,  Jeju Museum of Art,  V&A Museum, Bonhams Art Gallery, Bozar Centre for Fine Arts among others, and her work is held internationally in public and private collections. She has performed around the globe, including at Opera North, BALTIC, Fusion Festival, Ars Electronica Festival and Headlands Center for the Arts. Her new performance work Empty Fields will premiere at the Korea International Art Fair in September 2024.

Stijn Demeulenaere

Peter Friess

Alexandra Dementieva


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