The Underlying is a new body of work by Ami Clarke commissioned by arebyte gallery in 2019, including the works: Lag Lag Lag (video interface with live sentiment analysis), Derivative (Virtual Reality with live sentiment analysis), The Prosthetics (prosthetic optics, blown glass), sand drift - installation shown above at arebyte gallery.
The work in The Underlying co-opts the financiers tool of 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.
Lag Lag Lag - shown above (8 screen video interface, with live sentiment/emotion analysis re mentions of BPA on twitter and online news)
The 8 screen monitor interface reminiscent of financiers screens, blurs distinctions between what are pre-recorded video works and live data analysis, as the artists videos interweave with live twitter and online news updates.
The work considers the multiple ways that form and medium, as well as the content of the information we receive, influences reception of what is being transmitted, often in combinations of text and image as looping viral feedback systems within an economy of attention.
The text in the video works emerges from a script edited over many years: Error-Correction: an introduction to future diagrams. It acts as a script reflecting on the influence of calculus, in which each articulation is just one of many takes, constantly re-edited, that references and includes openly borrowed texts from contemporary commentary, news items, anecdotal evidence; culminating in an interrelated convergence of many interwoven threads, whereby the voice (through language) is constituted between someone else's thoughts and the page. It openly acknowledges the multitude of influences on the choices we make. For the first time, the artists personal history interweaves with theoretical musings from writers and thinkers such as Katherine Hayles, Octavia Butler, Sylvia Wynter, Paul B Preciado (see full list below), with online twitter production/news updates, and live data analysis.
The video works enmesh human cognitive as well as non-cognitive processes, blurring human/animal in-distinctions with soft computing, the molecular structure of Bisphenol A, and live data production, engendering the potential as well as the dangers of multiple cross-species hybridities, from a posthuman position, with an emphasis on any subject to speak of (as questions of authorship, also arise) emerging in synthesis with their environment.
The Underlying - installation shots - close-up details of graphs, twitter feed / news analysis / pricing model, around 08.14
8 screens hang from the ceiling held in a black metal frame, reminiscent of financiers monitors, showing videos syncing across all the screens (looped, approx. 5 mins), with live sentiment and emotion analysis of the pollutant BPA – Bisphenol A (a synthetic oestrogen flooding the planets water supplies) - applied to live twitter feeds and news updates.
The live sentiment and emotion analysis occurs throughout the duration of the work, shown live on-screen often interwoven with other screens showing video works, with a rolling news feed, and a series of graphs that gradually combine to make up an entire screen reminiscent of the financier style display that includes:
live rolling news feed with mentions of BPA’s,
live twitter feeds / online news updates showing analysis of BPA by both sentiment/emotion analysis,
google map showing where the tweets emanate from geographically,
a candle graph showing hourly highs and lows of sentiment analysis,
a pricing model showing changes via emoji in the 100 most polluting companies stock value in response to sentiment/emotion analysis of BPA in twitter and online news
Lag Lag Lag - (shown above) - data visualisations - from top right - clockwise:
live news feed updates (scrolling up) with live sentiment analysis of BPA mentions in online news production - shown on a spectrum between minus 1 and 1
live twitter feed (scrolling up) with live sentiment analysis shown on a spectrum between minus 1 and 1, and emotion analysis showing joy, anger, disgust, fear, sadness - via emoji’s, with live rolling news feed
fluctuating bars showing emotion analysis of the twitter feeds: joy, anger, disgust, sadness, fear
google map showing geo-location of tweets - mediated by english language usage, and the tweet being tagged with it’s location
the candles display an hourly value rate that shows the highest and lowest values via the wick/stick, whilst the body of the candle shows the opening and closing sentiment value for the tweets.
The middle graph shows the pricing model built by ex-derivatives trader Jen Elvidge - please see full description next page
Pricing model and graphs.
I was interested to see if there was a way to turn the financiers tool of sentiment and emotion analysis, on its head, so to speak, and map something that might be of interest to lay folk, instead, with regards the environmental challenges ahead.
I consulted an artist who I knew to be an ex-derivatives trader, Jen Elvidge, and worked with the programmer Rob Prouse, to devise a speculative pricing model.
The model takes the sentiment/emotion analysis of mentions of BPA’s on twitter, and online news sources, to map the rise and fall of reputation in real time, using weather futures contracts, local pollution data, and the FTSE, to plot the fluctuations in the stock prices of the top 100 polluting companies in the world. It utilises a financial quantitative model that takes BPA sentiment analysis, the FTSE (as a proxy for the general stock market), and Weather Futures contracts from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (that map the weather at London Heathrow), as well as local pollution data taken from the longitude and latitude of the gallery. A list to the side of the graph shows the most polluting companies with the price next to them generated via the pricing model.
The sentiment analysis software Vader operates from local raspberry pi’s, whilst the emotional analysis is done by IBM Watson online, that both then inform other aspects of the graphs. The Google map pulls on regular twitter API, showing sentiment analysis of tweets mentioning BPA, whilst the fluctuating bars show emotional analysis of the twitter feeds as they scroll up the bottom two monitors. The scrolling news feed is informed by sentiment analysis on the two monitors to the right, showing a spectrum between 1 and minus 1, whilst the candlestick graph shows the opening and closing senti value, and the range that these reach per hour.
The sentiment/emotion analysis also informs what’s happening in the VR work Derivative, and the amount of airborne particles that are produced within the environment.