Street Projections: CAPTURE 
Public Video Artwork, Commissioned by City of Port Phillip
This project was supported by the City of Port Phillip through the Rupert Bunny Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship
Betty Sargeant and Justin Dwyer were the recipients of the 2019 Rupert Bunny Visual Arts Fellowship. Their 1.5 year fellowship project was called CAPTURE. It was an investigation into carbon neutral and carbon negative materials and working practices. During the fellowship Betty created a series of compostable biopolymers. The biopolymers were a plastic-like substance that can break down in domestic compost systems. Betty will use these biopolymers in her future installation work, replacing commercial plastics and many metals. The majority of her biopolymers are made using seaweed. The CAPTURE project involved a video artwork that featured generative computer animations of the microscopic qualities of these biopolymer materials.
THE VIDEO ARTWORK
A central outcome from this project was a video artwork. This work showcases the microscopic qualities of Betty’s compostable biopolymer materials. It accentuates the beauty and intricate nature of these environmentally responsible materials. In making the video Betty and Justin used digital methods to reveal the biopolymers’ hidden and subtle qualities. Betty photographed the biopolymers under microscope and Justin animated the imagery using generative computer processing. The video artwork’s soundtrack was developed from a fusion of electronic sounds and intricate audio recordings of organic materials. This involved hydrophones, contact mics and field recordings.
The CAPTURE video artwork was exhibited in December 2020 as a large-scale public artwork in St Kilda, Australia. In using a fusion of digital and organic materials and working processes Betty and Justin invited audiences to experience aspects of nature that are not perceptible without the use of specialist technological equipment. They revealed hidden qualities of an organic material that can be used as a replacement for commercial plastics, and can help achieve a carbon negative future.
The combination of art and science in CAPTURE gives the audience incredible insight into the beauty of the natural world.
This project involved an intensive time of practical experimentation. Over this time, Betty developed a series of reliable biopolymer recipes and production methods. This involved testing recipes and observing the stability of the materials she created. As biopolymers dry and solidify, they can dramatically change shape. This can lead to both interesting and disastrous creative outcomes. Betty used her most stable recipes and methods to create large format (2m x 1m) biopolymer materials. These materials were observed over 1 year, to ensure that as they dried, they retained a shape and form suitable for her creative needs.
PROJECT RESEARCH COLLABORATORS
CAPTURE involved intensive research into carbon capture and storage. From 2019-2020 Betty Sargeant collaborated with international institutions and worked in the field alongside scientists, artists and researchers including in the Amazon and Panama jungles. Betty would like to thank all of the organisations involved. Thanks to the Port Phillip EcoCentre, LabVerde Artist Immersion Program in the Amazon (Brazil), INPA (The National Institute of Amazonian Research), the Digital Naturalism Lab (Panama) and the contributing scientists from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (Panama).
Betty Sargeant ~ Artist (biopolymers), producer
Justin Dwyer ~ Artist (projection mapping), programmer, music composer
This project has been supported by the City of Port Phillip through the Rupert Bunny Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship.
Betty Sargeant lives and works on the unceded land of the Yaluk-ut Weelam clan who are Boon Wurrung people. She pays respect to ancestors, elders and communities.