Betty Sargeant


Artist Talk > Saturday 3 February, 2 to 3PM
11 January > 11 February 2024

Linden New Art and Midsumma Festival present REAL FAKE, an immersive new audio-visual installation by Melbourne-based media artist Betty Sargeant. 

REAL FAKE invites audiences to consider the implications of artificial intelligence on global wilderness. Combining video and photography with hyper-realistic AI-generated scenes, REAL FAKE blurs the boundary between fact and fiction, prompting us to ponder whether what we see is captured by camera or conjured by computer algorithms.

Our lives are mediated through screens. Advanced machine-learning software, virtual realities and deepfakes increasingly challenge our ability to distinguish the authentic from the artificial. REAL FAKE begs the question: what does it mean to experience the world through its simulation? How does this disrupt our definitions of reality and truth? And what are the environmental risks to this loss of connection to nature, as we unhitch our binds to the physical realm?

“In this epoch of uber-realistic AI simulations, people no longer trust in the authenticity of images. But if we assume that all wilderness imagery is manufactured by computers, we become more disconnected from nature. Nature is something we now experience through the veil of digital noise. If it is all fake, there is no awe, there is no wonder, and there is no need for ecological action.”
- Betty Sargeant

The artist has spent substantial time in some of our most crucial global ecosystems including the Amazon Jungle (Brazil), Aotearoa (New Zealand), the jungles of Panama, Batticaloa (Sri Lanka), Zanscar (Himalaya) and Australia (Boonwurrung, Millewa-Mallee, Latji Latji, Tati Tati, Wadi Wadi, Weki Weki, and Wemba Wemba). Imagery created in these lands are featured in this installation. The artist­ pays respect to the First Peoples of these lands and acknowledges their ongoing struggles.

Dr. Betty Sargeant is an internationally acclaimed media artist whose practice operates at the intersection of art, technology and environmental science. Sargeant combines digital and analogue processes, fusing videography, photography, microscopy, machine learning, graphic design, sound and sculptural techniques to create immersive works that confront the critical concerns of our time.

Sargeant’s installations have enjoyed extensive exhibition both at home and abroad, including commissioned exhibitions for National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, the Karachi Biennale in Pakistan, and the Asia Culture Centre in South Korea. She is the recipient of the Good Design Award and received a Premier’s Design Award in recognition of her progressive creative practice. In 2016, Sargeant was the Melbourne Knowledge Fellow, and in 2016-17 was creator-in-residence at the Asia Culture Centre in South Korea.

IMAGES > (1 & 2) Betty Sargeant, REAL FAKE, 2024.
> (above) Portrait of Betty Sargeant, 2023. 
Images courtesy of the artist.

+ Plan your visit

Please note > we apologise for any inconvenience, the Linden Projects Space is not wheelchair accessible.

Linden Projects Space is generously supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, City of Port Phillip and the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust. The artist thanks Yandell Walton.

 REAL FAKE is proudly supported by City of Port Phillip Cultural Development Fund.

Project Partners: