exhibition / exhibition program

kat austen

stranger to the trees, by kat austen

9 May

to 17 Aug

free admission

galeria um


Stranger to the Trees is based on extensive interdisciplinary research examining the relationship of incorporation and rejection between plastic and trees. This work resulted in a peer-reviewed scientific article showing that microplastics pass from the soil to the roots of trees. This is the first time that a scientific publication has reported this phenomenon in trees, which are important carbon sequestering organisms, in the global context of pollution caused by human beings. Forests take on a new materiality at a time when plastic pollution is omnipresent. It turned out that plastics are present even on the periphery of human reach: at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, in the rain, in the clouds and in the atmosphere. Combining video, interactive sound and sculpture, Stranger to the Trees is a multimedia work that questions the response of forest ecosystems to the ubiquitous and irrevocable dispersal of microplastics on Earth.
Kat Austen’s artistic practice centres on environmental issues. She combines different disciplines and means of expression, creating sculptural and new media installations, performances and participatory works. Her work is underpinned by extensive research and theoretical reflection and driven by a motivation to explore ways of moving towards a more socially and environmentally just future. She works from Seoul and Berlin. She is Artist in Residence at University College London’s School of Maths and Physical Sciences and Senior Lecturer at UCL Arts and Sciences. Austen’s field research included a trip to the Canadian High Arctic.

exhibition part of the index 2024 – art and technology biennial programme

work created in 2022 from an artist’s residency at the wro art centre in wroclaw (poland)

european media art platform is a project co-funded by the european union



support portuguese republic – culture / directorate-general for the arts. rtcp – network of portuguese theatres and cinemas

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