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).

Harold Tay

Dates: 14/7/2022-31/7/2022

Project: Investigation into coconut husk burners

Bio: I’m a Singaporean mechanical engineer by training, but I later moved into (systems) software, and then electronics. I attended the inaugural Dinacon (held in Phuket, Thailand) where I ran my autonomous underwater vehicle (basically an underwater drone). This time I ran a workshop where participants made their own hydrophones (soon I’ll post details on how to make one for yourself). There is a pattern here! I’m still involved in underwater and terrestrial acoustics, but not so much underwater robotics any more.

You can read about my Dinacon project from the link. I was also involved in the Oven project where some of us got together and designed/built an outdoor brick oven. Well, we directed the construction rather than built it ourselves, we’re not skilled that way! Link on the way.

By the way, Sri Lanka isn’t the way the media has portrayed it. It isn’t a war zone, and people aren’t looting for example Tourists are not in any danger, and they can certainly use the foreign currency in this period. This isn’t to minimise the hardship the people are actually facing, but the solution isn’t to stay away. I found Sri Lankans as helpful and friendly this second time there as the first.

Bharath Haridas

“The diverse sounds of the world are now in crisis. Our species is both an apogee of sonic creativity and the great destroyer of the world’s acoustic riches. Habitat destruction and human noise are erasing sonic diversity worldwide. Never in the history of Earth have sounds been so rich and varied. Never has this diversity been so threatened. We live amid riches and despoliation. ” – David George Haskell, Sounds Wild and Broken

Project

What does the sound mean to the crickets themselves? We know they are mating calls but we hardly pause to feel it from their perspective. I have been collecting different sound samples of crickets, and cicadas from parts of Pulau Ubin, a small island rich with mangroves off the shores of Singapore and from the hilly parts of the Western Ghats in Kerala. Both rich in biodiversity face different types of threats to their natural habitats. What messages are these insects relaying to each other in their own environment? What messages would they have for their fellow species that live in and around the mangroves of Batticaloa? What shifts in the Anthropocene when caught between a global conversation of insects from fragile ecosystems?

About

I am Service Designer and an Experimental media artist, from Kerala, India with fragments of San Francisco, Bangalore and Singapore. I let the context guide me to the form, medium or a technology. I am currently figuring out how to set up a small lab for artists, designers, and biologists in the Western Ghats in Kerala, South India.

Workshop

User Research and Paper Prototyping – Software Lab, Dreasmspace Academy, 21st July Thursday

Dates : 14 – 24 July

Saad Chinoy

greyscale profile photo of Saad Chinoy, by Muaz

BioPlastics and Kombucha SCOBY Leather – experiments in kitchen science.

Fermentation brings people together on a microbial level. Using pro-biotic projects to talk methods, flavour, art, and tech all at once in a hands-on and constructive manner lends itself to a shared understanding of the science and indigenous knowledge of the microbiome through storytelling.

I’ll be working with the DreamSpace team and folks from Sri Lanka to learn about their famed Ceylon Tea and the culture that surrounds it. With hands-on workshops on making Kombucha Starter, SCOBY, and vegan leather I hope to initiate an exchange of stories, recipes, practical ideas, and creative expression. This, together with cooking up bioplastics from rice-starch to address the constantly growing challenge of single-use plastics I hope to use kitchen science and informal education to link awareness, outreach, and solution prototyping through hands-on activity.

With the current economic crisis and a need for revenue from Tourism, I feel an influx of creative and collaborative international travelers offers a sign of positive support. With the Intention of building resilient systems, and helping to build resilience into systems I trust the open-sourced maker / hacker / DIY approach will inspire innovative progress through a “perfect storm” of challenges.

#MakersGonnaMake #WeAreWhatWeCreateTogether
@saadCaffeine
edibleMakerspace.com
salvageGarden.com
spudnikLab.com


Other projects: conversations with Dinasaurs and Dreamspace folks organically lead to many, many “side projects” some of which are documented here because, photos!

DinaCafe / Lounge w Tali and the Dinasaurs
– DIY filters
– Caffeinated contributions
– Lounge / after-dark toddy Shenanigans (Oh My Gourd)

Papaya sap based alternative to CivetCat Coffee w Marc and the BioLab
– see also a side-side-project using papain protease enzyme for vegan cheese w Ahac and BioLab

ShroomMonitor w Cris, Pramo, Brian, and a hacked humidifier
– Introducing Microcontrollers with Arduino and reverse engineering to emulate a touch sensor

BikingHacks w Andy and DreamspaceCollective
– Turning bicycles into horses using Coconuts and laser-cutting inspired by MontyPython and Trotify

Other other projects
– DIY Incubator w BioLab
– ButterChurn jar w 3D printed hand-crank inspired by visit to the museum
– Caffeinator redux – cold brew coffee to keep caffeinated in spite of power cuts

Felix Klee

Photo of Felix with bamboo and lights

Dates: 15/7-29/7

Project: Felix will plant strangler fig saplings on a base structure made of bamboo. Once their aerial roots have reached ground, these will grow all over the structure, which will rot away. What is left is a living room. Think Meghalaya’s living root bridges or Baubotanik.

Bio: Felix has an academic background in architecture and physics. He is exploring tropical regions for opportunities to construct with strangler figs beyond the living root bridges, something that is not possible in his home country Germany. In 2020 and early 2021, he was visiting Hong Kong, where he did experiments with vines, including a sound installation in the jungle atop Victoria Peak together with noise artist 3x3x3. In 2019 he showed two installations related to adaptable architecture in Hong Kong, one of them created from bamboo, coconuts, and electronics. He is partner in the Berlin art production company Rieger & Klee GbR.

Four drawings showing possible stages of the project
Stages over decades

William Kennedy

william kennedy

dates: July 6 – July 21

Project : i will be working on micropower analog electronic art installations! using the power of the sun, wind, and water, I will be creating small circuits to make sounds and light and interaction hopefully making people laugh and think and wonder

bio: hello! i am a digital media artist, musician, lighting designer, lampsmith, and recent electrical engineer graduate from georgia tech. i like building interactive art and light installations for touring musicians, bands, music venues, municipalities, music festivals, and events.
I like to focus on the idea of ‘play’ and the spontaneous whimsical nature of creation, using found objects and hacked together commonplace items to customize daily life.
I’ve spent many years as a touring musician before getting into the art and design and engineering game!

website: https://freakylamps.com/

Ahac Meden

DATES

July 5 – 22, 2022

PROJECTS

I intend to continue my DiNaCon/PIFcamp ethnographic observations. Focusing on DinnerCon and PIFood activities through exploring local food practices and how they resonate with fellow participants. In the process I plan to set up the PIFood.club blog where I will be documenting these explorations and other related research happening.

BIO

A biographies editor. Datafication of the human experience without losing humanity enthusiast. Late to finish, slow-paced academic. Wondering child that is constantly rediscovering what it means to be part of the planetary dumpling experience.

Fritz Francisco

fritz

Dates July 01 – 14

Bio

Previously I have worked on various aquatic animal systems, both in the field and in controlled laboratory environments, to better understand the mechanisms governing social interactions. Now I have joined the interdisciplinary cluster Science of Intelligence as part of the project on Dynamical Collective Adaptation & Learning to elucidate on the fact that animals are capable of continuously adapting to changing environments and novel situations. One way individuals are capable of doing so is by learning, a form of  inter- individual information transfer and knowledge accumulation. It enables an individual to understand its environment and  therefore minimize uncertainty about future situations. Using schooling fish (whose social and physical context as well as the previous experience and knowledge of each individual can easily be manipulated), my project addresses the topic of adaptation and learning in animal groups.

In my daily life I’m driven most by the combination of art, science and craftsmanship, which I try to implement wherever I can. A further aspect of focus dear to me is teaching and passing on information and coming up with new ideas and ways to interact with each other.

Project
in vivo information gain

To me the best way to learn and study is by trial and error, which is why I especially like to move between the controlled lab space and the field environment, in order to test my ideas and gain robust insights. The project I want to approach while at Dinacon is a device with which wild animals can interact with. These interaction should be recorded (either via video or sensor output) and serve as quantifiable information about such naturalistic processes as play, exploration, creativity and problem solving in wild animals. I hope to achieve this by implementing some simple mechanisms which can be manipulated by the animals directly without receiving any reward other than information about the process. The mechanism is planned to be constructed by using raspberry pis, cameras, stepper motors, leds and microcontrollers.

I’m excited to join Dinacon this year as I have been following the work by this fantastic team over the last years and always thought this was a amazing platform for bringing people together in a constructive way!

Tegan Ritz McDuffie

Head of Tegan Ritz McDuffie

DATES —

July 14 – 31, 2022

BIO —

I’m a theater maker, installation artist, and archivist. I studied directing and photography at Carnegie Mellon University and have since created and facilitated performances in NYC, Berlin, and Abu Dhabi. Recently I’ve been really enthralled by multi-species thriving, site specific materials, and entanglements between ecology and technology. Currently I’m working on a garden installation for a research initiative exploring concepts and critiques of the Anthropocene at NYU Abu Dhabi.

PROJECTS —

Collective Field Jam — I will co-facilitate a sound jam/ performance with Mang using audio and video recordings collected from the environment of Batticaloa. I’m excited to gather samples focused on texture, kinesthetic movement, and points of attachment. Everyone is invited to contribute — let’s explore, listen, & make some cool music with nature!

Abscission Art Books — I’d love to make zines out of naturally shedded materials with textual reflections on human and non-human exchanges; also thinking about the permanence/impermanence of archival and collective impulses.

Decorative image showing side texture of a bundle of leaves

Looking forward to creating with you!

Michael Ang (Mang)

Michael Ang (aka Mang) is an artist, professor, and engineer who creates light objects, interactive installations, and technological tools that expand the possibilities of human expression and connection. Applying a hacker’s aesthetic, he often repurposes existing technology to create human-centered experiences in public space and the open field.

At Dinacon I’ll be continuing the Unnatural Language project (with Seamus) where we use Arduino-based “Datapods” to create in-the-field sonic orchestrations from environmental sensors.

I’ll be hosting a field recording sound jam with Tegan Ritz McDuffie. Contribute your field recordings and come join the collaborative jam to create some music using the sounds of Batticaloa!

Dinacon dates – July 14-31, coming from Singapore

Datapod sonic installation in the Panama Canal at Dinacon 2019
Recording sounds using found objects to embed in the Datapods