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The Underlying by Ami Clarke

20 September - 16 November
Organized by: arebyte Gallery
Java House
7 Botanic Square
London City Island
E14 0LG

arebyte Gallery are pleased to announce The Underlying, a new body of work by London based artist Ami Clarke, including Derivative (Virtual Reality, 6 mins), 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.