The Underlying by Ami Clarke - 19th Sept-16th Nov - arebyte gallery
arebyte Gallery are pleased to announce The Underlying, a new body of work by London based artist Ami Clarke, including Derivative (Virtual Reality), Lag Lag Lag (video interface with live sentiment analysis), and The Prosthetics (prosthetic optics, blown glass).
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 reputations, 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)
The exhibition is supported by Arts Council England.
* (Bisphenol A - a chemical compound and synthetic oestrogen produced in the manufacture of plastics, recently found to be in water supplies the world over)www.amiclarke.comwww.arebyte.com
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