Betty Sargeant

Betty Sargeant

DISCO APOCALYPSE: Art Experiments

In the middle of the Dinacon month I went with some of the Dinosaurs and ventured onto the beautiful Batticaloa lagoon to listen to and record the famous singing fish.

On the boat before recording the Singing Fish (image by Betty Sargeant)

It was a full moon and a super moon, so the conditions were ideal. The ‘singing’ comes from plainfin midshipman, a species of toadfish that glow green during mating times. The fish produce an aquatic frog-like mating call. They are best heard at about 10 PM on a full moon. 

Here are some of the recordings, I’ve made these recordings into a kind of greatest hits compilation of the audio that I captured over two nights of the full moon. The recording is highly recommended as an insomniac’s sleeping aid.

To record I used a Zoom recorder and a custom made hydrophone that was submerged to about 6 meters into various parts of the lagoon at night.

Capturing drone footage at the end of the Batticaloa peninsular (image by Luci Dayhew)

I also ventured out to the end of the Batticaloa peninsular before dawn to collect audio and video footage. The casuarina pine forest at the end of the peninsular was well worth the 1-hour bike ride through sand tracks. The forest was planted post-tsunami. The trees are organised in unnatural rows, creating uncanny organic order. 

During Dinacon I drew on a variety of audio-visual footage, that I collected over my Dinacon time, to make a series of trash-bag video art experiments. These video works are a commentary on the impact of hyper-consumerism on our natural ecosystems. The image below is a screen grab from one of the video works. It features drone footage from the end of the Batticaloa peninsular, whale baleen (we found on the Batticaloa beach), graphic design, trash typeface design and singing fish audio.

Tali was kind enough to provide video feedback on my Dinacon project.

Tali’s feedback on my project

My Dinacon experiments are being developed into an immersive art installation called DISCO APOCALYPSE. This artwork will have its premier at the 2022 Karachi Biennale (Pakistan). For more project details visit: https://pluginhuman.com/arts/disco-apocalypse/ and @PluginHUMAN.

I 💚 Dinacon. Photographing plant specimens under microscope (Image by Betty Sargeant)

Dr Betty Sargeant is a multi-award-winning, internationally recognised media artist. She is co-creative director and artist with the art-technology duo PluginHUMAN. Betty creates multi-sensory immersive art installations that socially and physically engage audiences.

Betty has exhibited internationally (Asia, Europe, North America, Australia). She has won Good Design Awards (2020 and 2018) and a Premier’s Design Award (2017) for her progressive artworks. She was the Melbourne Knowledge Fellow (2016), was artist-in-residence at the Exertion Games Lab, RMIT University (2017-19); and was creator-in-residence at the Asia Culture Centre (South Korea, 2016-17). Betty’s PhD was ranked top three at the CHASS Prize (2015). Her CV is available on LinkedIn. She has academic publications and regularly speaks at public events. In 2019 Betty represented Australia in a federal government cultural delegation to India focusing on partnership building and future collaborations (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Asialink 2019).

Betty has created media art installations for institutions such as the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (Taiwan, 2018), Questacon (the National Science and Technology Museum, Australia, 2018) and the Asia Culture Centre (South Korea, 2016 & 2017).

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