Derivative by Ami Clarke - VR work with live sentiment analysis of BPA's in twitter and live news updates - live footage captured from visitors experience of the VR
The work in The Underlying co-opts live sentiment analysis of online news production and social media, relating to BPA’s (Bisphenol A*) to consider how surveillance, rather than a rogue element of capitalism, enmeshes with the effects of market forces upon the environment, happening at a molecular level.
Derivative (VR work)
(Unreal Engine, Oculus Rift headset, 2 x Oculus Touch controllers, 2 x Oculus sensor, 2 x AA batteries, PC computer, HDMI cable and monitor, cable to connect to raspberry pi's processing sentiment analysis.)
Visitors to the VR work: “Derivative”, arrive just outside the iconic striped postmodern landmark of 1 Poultry, in the historical financial district around Bank, in the heart of the City of London, immersed within a dusty crystalline maze, in which familiar landmarks merge with multiple fractured views, reminiscent of popular sci-fi’s such as Bladerunner 2049 and Netflix series Mars.
A deeply immersive experience, visitors are invited to explore the VR environment, as live sentiment analysis re mentions of BPA’s (a synthetic oestrogen and pollutant produced alongside plastic since the 1930’s now flooding the planets water supplies) informs the landscape via an HUD – a transparent head-up display common in gaming – that shows the most recent tweet / news update with its sentiment/emotion analysis reading – that in turn informs the amount of air borne particles that occur during the visitor’s experience.
The VR work is set in a parallel present that asks just how ‘virtual’ the extractive practices of capitalism really are, with little regard shown for the very real costs to the environment and the people living there (Raj Patel, Jason Moore). As particles escape the virtual landscape, they slump up against the gallery wall in the form of a huge sand drift, that in turn informs the clusters of glass eyes in The Prosthetics.
The work emphasises an important aspect of the climate challenges ahead will be to address from an initial phase, present inequalities borne of colonialism, with legacies often to be found in geographical locations with projections of the most volatile environmental futures. It draws a thread from Britain’s past, and earlier extractive practices during Empire, to the present day, with Britain by far the biggest enabler of global corporate tax dodging, ground-breaking research by the tax justice network: The Corporate Tax Haven Index finds. The research highlights a widely acknowledged, but fundamentally unsolved situation that points to “the role of the UK and its network of Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies in undermining the ability of other countries, including some of the poorest in the world, to provide for the most basic rights of their citizens.” This is where the current moment crystallizes around wealth derived from relations that inscribe on-going inequalities. This is where the secret sauce of memetic media meets the magic sauce of right wing billionaires, underwriting political campaigns to facilitate a wholesale move to the hard right, as various strategies emerge as the planet continues to heat up and the era of fossil fuel power wanes.
You can read more in the Corporate Tax Haven Index by the British Tax Justice Network that ranks the world’s most important tax havens for multinational corporations, according to how aggressively and how extensively each jurisdiction contributes to helping the world’s multinational enterprises escape paying tax, and erodes the tax revenues of other countries around the world. It also indicates how much each place contributes to a global ”race to the bottom” on corporate taxes.