Exploring Knowledge Hierarchies and the Search for Truth

In Search of Knowing: Exploring Knowledge Hierarchies and the Search for Truth
Kat Austen
Date & Time
Monday, April 18, 2016 - 18:00 to 19:00
NYU Shanghai, Room 1505

How do we know something? Often, we consider that to know is to have empirical proof, underpinned by reproducible data. But this neglects other ways of knowing - for instance through our senses, our movements, our instincts or collectively. Projects that blend science with other disciplines open up this knowledge hierarchy, exploring the applicability of different ways of knowing to different questions - and interrogating our idea of truth.

At the same time, the rise of the internet, self publishing and a movement towards open access publishing and open source software has created a vast pool of knowledge accessible to all, no matter their location, institution, or status. This democratisation and dissemination of knowledge has facilitated a rise in citizen science and DIY science projects, which again shift the value system and socio-politics of knowledge production.

The two trends combines have produced a radical change in the way that humanity is producing learning. In this lecture, Kat Austen will present a multiplicity of approaches to knowing about the world and our place within it, from traditional scientific reductionism to embodied cognition and physical modes of knowing.

The environment is Kat Austen's passion, and her interest is largely held by finding intellectual, experiential and sensorial ways of understanding existence in all its complexity. Her work explores the interplay between acts at different levels - individual, collective, communal, municipal, state, national, international - in the context of a global, digitally-enabled society.

Kat Austen is Artist in Residence at the Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences, University College London, and has also been an artist in residence at ArtOxygen, LAStheatre, The Clipperton Project and Utter! Spoken word, among others. She is a member of critical art collective Stereotropic Anecdota. As Head of Research and Design at the social enterprise iilab, Kat is leading its Open Droplet water sensor project, which was recently included on the  Serpentine Gallery’s EXTINCT.LY platform. For this project, she is focusing on co-design, physically evocative representations of data and community stewardship of water.

Kat has exhibited and performed at Palazzo Ducale, Genoa, Italy as part of Genova Science Festival; Piksel Festival, Bergen, Norway; MIKK, Murska Sobota, Slovenia; Kulturbrauerei, Berlin, Germany; Kreuzberg Pavillion, Berlin, Germany; Schwartz Gallery, London, UK; Regenerate Gallery, London, UK; The Crystal, London, UK; Museo Diego Rivera, Mexico City, Mexico; South Cloisters, University College London, UK; Rich Mix, London, UK as part of Festival of Dangerous Ideas. Her work is also present in private collections.

Kat holds a PhD in chemistry from UCL and worked as a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Cambridge. Her writing has appeared in two book chapters, New Scientist, Nature, The Ecologist and The Guardian, and she consults widely on the intersection of science, art and technology, including as a Futureshaper for Forum for the Future, for the European Commission and Ofwat.

Dr. Einat Natalie Palkovich will be introducing Dr. Austen.

Location & Details

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Metro:  Century Avenue Station, Metro Lines 2/4/6/9 Exit 6 in location B

Bus: Century Avenue at Pudian Road, Bus Lines 169/987