Seaweed as BioArt with Kirstie McCallum

“Seaweed as BioArt” was a six-week research mentorship and collaboration between artists WhiteFeather Hunter and Kirstie McCallum. The project was conceived as a way to test the potential for seaweeds to improve the plasticity of common bioplastic recipes. Both artists worked with local seaweeds, Hunter using a Hawaiian sea lettuce called Limu palahalaha and MacCallum using a Prince Edward Island seaweed called Fucus serratus. They tested, hybridised, and transformed existing bioplastic recipes, developing a novel recipe that incorporates seaweed as a key ingredient in a water- and mould-resistant material that can be heated and reformed into a variety of thicknesses and shapes. The project was also an opportunity for the artists to discuss the ethical and aesthetic themes that emerged from the work, including sustainable harvesting practises, ecological art, the techno-utopianism that “green” products promote, the complex issues around settler land relationships, and the creative potential of practises that incorporate natural processes of decomposition. The project was funded by the Canada Council for the Arts Professional Development Fund.