NGV Triennial

Dance Biodegradable Personal Protective Equipment (DBPPE) post COVID facemasks



For NGV Triennial Alice Potts will create a set of speculative bioplastic personal protection equipment (PPE) facemasks made from food waste and dyed using flowers she has collected in London’s parks during the COVID–19 lockdown. The work, Dance Biodegradable Personal Protective Equipment (DBPPE) post COVID facemasks 2020, is a result of Pott’s personal experiences as a designer during London’s first weeks of the pandemic. At the beginning of the lockdown, Potts was contacted by her brother – a paramedic working in London’s outskirts – distressed that he had no PPE to protect himself, instead wearing bin liners for masks. In response Potts paused her design practice to commence reusable cotton mask production. To date she has created over 3,000 of these masks in a not-for-profit initiative. Drawing from this experience, and her ongoing investigation into biodesign, Potts seeks to highlight the dramatic acceleration of single-use plastic usage for COVID–19-related PPE. She asked herself ‘how can I create a new sustainable infrastructure that can protect people but also create a positive impact on our environment?’ These critical design objects aim to provide a glimpse of an alternate sustainable future that rebalances our relationships to nature.

Intent on revolutionising the textile industry, Alice Potts aims to perfect sustainable bioplastics and fibres made from sweat crystals, algae and other sustainable materials, including food waste. She graduated with an MA from the Royal College of Art in London and has spent the last 6 years as a bio-fabricator, independently developing a combination of sustainable and biology based materials. The designer is perhaps best recognised for her ‘Sweat Crystallisation’ works that turn human sweat into a biocrystal for use in art and design projects. Potts has also undertaken extensive research into biodegradable bioplastics made and coloured from local food waste and environmental components. She has adapted the material from a solid to a silicon quality with endless possibilities for weaving, joining, interlocking, and moulding. Potts received a 2018 Fellowship with the Onassis Foundation in Athens and was named one of London’s most influential people in the category of Business: Fashion and Beauty at the 2019 Progress 1000 Gala.

This project is proudly supported by MIMCO.


The NGV warmly thanks Triennial Supporters Chris & Dawn Fleischner for their support.