Kat Austen speaks about empathy with Rosemary Lee questioning its role in our relationship to climate change.
Kat Austen: “For almost my entire life, I have been perplexed at my/our inaction towards climate change and what we couch as environmental damage. Inundated with scientific data, reportage, an overwhelming scientific consensus of not only the phenomenon, but also our part in it, I wonder about why we are not only reluctant to act, but incapable of it. My work focusses on aiming to answer the question: when we know so much already, what do we need to know in order to live more compassionately with/in the world and, most importantly, how do we need to know it?
To this end, I am particularly interested in the role of emotion in our relationship to climate change. One of the ways in which I research this is to focus on modes of engendering empathy, particularly in terms of acting with and upon the body. I create musical, sound and sculptural works and participatory practices that intervene with the minded-body in different ways, aiming to generate new types of empathy with that which we consider “other” to ourselves – be it another species or another ecosystem.”
Rosemary Lee: “Often rooted in our relationship to landscape, my practice of care and empathy has a deeply human focus. I am curious about the individual and the ensemble or collective, the creating of a community and illustration of it in the works themselves, the way the work engages a knowing audience in comparison to someone who stumbles across it, the responsibility I have for the casts and the audiences experience, the role language plays in facilitating movement and how our physical and sensorial knowing of the world shapes language. An embodied understanding of our environment, whether through touch, sensory activation or or re-imagination is a form of gentle radicalism -politically and artistically. I am curious about care as a state, a felt experience and how imagination, thought, opinion and action might be affected by it. I suggest that care is infectious and familiar and can be awoken in us at any moment, how to value it and hold onto it is the challenge.”
Part of Crossing Borders, a series of conversations about making change.