The Underlying is a body of work by Ami Clarke
shown here exhibited in the
London Open at Whitechapel gallery, London, 2022.
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 and sound work with Paul Purgas
by Emily Rosamond in Art Monthly Nov 2022.
The article includes some great writing on Lag Lag Lag part of the body of work: The Underlying, alongside works by Ben Yau, and Bahar Noorizadeh, scrutinising the authoritarian origins of neoliberalism and how this playbook is still very much in evidence today.
Emily Rosamond argues that the internet’s power to financialise information might be its undoing. Today’s so-called ‘post-truth’ moment might better be called a moment of mass online reputation warfare: a moment in which online reputation becomes an infinitely, ubiquitously tactical field.
The Underlying was commissioned by arebyte gallery in 2019 and exhibited at the gallery Sept-Nov 2019
The work in The Underlying utilises 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.
arebyte gallery 2019
The Underlying - installation shots at arebyte gallery - close-up details of graphs, twitter feed / news analysis / pricing model, around 08.14
Exhibition 19 Sept - Sat 16 Nov
arebyte Gallery are pleased to announce The Underlying, a new body of work by London based artist Ami Clarke, commissioned by arebyte gallery 2019, including Derivative (Virtual Reality, with live sentiment/emotion analysis re BPA's), Lag Lag Lag (video interface with live sentiment/emotion analysis re BPA's), and The Prosthetics (prosthetic optics, blown glass) surround sound and sand drift installation.
The contractual condition of both finance, and insurance, reveals the negative effects of capitalism on the environment, through a relationship with the past, that indicates that the future is coming up increasingly short.
In The Underlying, Ami Clarke expands on her work on speculation in language and the economy, as a state of contingency becomes a modus operandi. Her multimedia approach draws upon personal history, to work within the complexities, multi-temporalities and scales, that coalesce around new and old power relations that come of, and are revealed by, technologies associated with the interdependent ecologies of social media, finance, and the environment.
The work focuses on capitalism’s implicit role in environmental disaster, through the relationship of the past to the future in the contractual conditions of both insurance and the derivatives markets. The financiers tool of ‘sentiment analysis’ of on/offline news media, permits a view into the rise and fall in reputation, as insurance companies lose their appetite for underwriting companies dealing in the production of pollutants. Market forces develop green bonds and other instruments that attempt to financialise environmental problems and underlying assets, even further, as markets become, increasingly, as volatile as the weather. Meanwhile, the extractive protocols of the meme that is capitalism; ‘platform’, ‘surveillance’, late, as well as ‘disaster’, and the free market ideologies that underpin this, point to extractive relations borne of colonialism, with legacies often to be found in geographical locations with projections of the most volatile environmental futures.
Clarke’s video work Lag Lag Lag utilises 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. Working with former derivatives trader Jennifer Elvidge, and programmer Rob Prouse, the video work co-opts the financiers tool of sentiment analysis, that informs financial decisions on a daily basis, to develop a live interface in the gallery space. Subsequent analysis of news relating to BPA’s, maps the rise and fall of reputation in real time, whilst weather futures contracts, pollution data, and the FTSE, plot the fluctuations in stock price of the top 100 polluting companies in the world.
Her VR work Derivative draws from the popular imaginary of film productions such as Mars, and Bladerunner 2049, but located amongst the City of London’s financial district, for something more akin to ‘Bladerunner 2019: the burnout’ in the year the first film was set. The work points to the failure of capitalism to provide even the most basic requirements to sustain life at a global scale - inherently reliant on extractive practices of colonialism and digital neo-colonialisms - that congeal in the fantasy of escape to Mars for the 1%, as it meets the biological essentialism of a waning patriarchy. Whereas the alienation inherent to being a cyborg (replicant, or posthuman), as a machine aware of being a machine, lead to an understanding of identity as a construct, and hence could be constructed anew, more recent productions reflect a regression to severe modes of control through right wing political trends. As BPA’s flood the planets water supplies, to cries of ‘absolutely everywhere’, it becomes clear that the re-boot of the re-boot of the future, ends with a twist, in that there is no prequel, nor sequel yet to come, and questions regarding alternative models of living become increasingly more compelling and everyday.
Whilst much emphasis is put upon the individual as a consumer with the suggestion that lifestyle choices might bring about the dramatic changes necessary to avert environmental disaster, the extractive principles of capitalism, that point to colonial pasts and digital presents, remain unchallenged. In contrast, the work in the exhibition seeks to position the subject emerging in synthesis with their environment, which sites the individual enmeshed within collective action, through expanding mutual ecologies that include environmental concerns, as well as contemporary digital milieu.
The discussions started within the work will continue with a talk bringing together speakers for Art Licks weekend: Interdependence, with transfeminist, geo-communist and postcolonial responses to the incredible complexities of the environmental crisis with Diann Bauer, Arun Saldanha, and Ami Clarke. (Saturday 19th October, 2-4pm, arebyte Gallery).
* (Bisphenol A - a chemical compound and synthetic oestrogen produced in the manufacture of plastics, recently found to be in water supplies the world over).
With thanks to: Matteo Cianchetti and Cecilia Laschi from The BioRobotics Institute of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (Pisa), Dr Jeremy Pilcher and others at the Birkbeck School of Law, Mark Stokes (CGI), Rob Prouse (programming), Paul Purgas (sound), Phoebe Stubbs and Markus Grimm (glasswork), Sam Capps and Sam Thompson (VR), Mally Mallinson and assistants (sand), Rebecca Edwards, Nimrod Vardi, Claudel Goy, Chris Mcinnes, and Philip K Dick.
The work includes texts and quotations from the artists ongoing writing project: ‘Error-Correction: an introduction to future diagrams’ that questions roles of authorship attempting to openly reference sources, as well as influence, with material from some of the following writers/thinkers appearing in the work: Luciana Parisi, N. Katherine Hayles, Sylvia Wynter, Simone Browne, Kathryn Yusoff, Arun Saldanha, Fred Moten, Paul B Preciado, Magic Mary, Louise Amore, Nicholas Shaxson, Jean Baudrillard with Sylvere Lotringer, William Burroughs, Natasha Dow Schüll, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Hito Steyerl, Sanford Kwinter, Franco Birardi, Donald MacKenzie, Christian Marazzi, Silvia Federici, Octavia Butler, Leon Sealey-Huggins, Mel Y Chen, Nadine El-Enany, Anita Rupprecht, Ian Baucom, Karen Salt, Sebastian Franklin, Theo Reeves-Evison, Josh Bowsher.