20°32’50.4”S 67°22’57.6”W (2022) 3 channel Video, Stereo Sound.(13.06)
Shot on location in Bolivia, prior to the Military coup in 2019, "20°32'50.4"S 67°22'57.6"W" (2022) is the product of extensive research into the Lithium economy, our increasing dependence upon it as an energy source within laptops, mobile phones and most significantly its part in the next global shift in transport, the electric car.
The video focuses on the landscape of the ancient Salar de Uyuni the largest salt lake in the world and an area with the largest global reserves of Lithium, deep within its ancient salt crust. 20°32'50.4"S 67°22'57.6"W observes this ancient psychedelic landscape as a means of exploring not just its exploitation for digital industries but also the legacy of Lithium as a psychotropic drug, an affective and mysterious treatment for mental health issues drawn from the artists personal history and experiences whilst working within social care.
The work explores the large industrial evaporation pools on the salt flats that slowly create the Lithium carbonate a substance that has been increasingly been referred to as ‘white gold’. Once considered to be one of the deadest parts of the world the salt flats present Bolivia with an opportunity to take ownership of an economy that could vastly increase the country’s wealth, an interesting twist to the legacy of colonialism that still haunts the history of its natural resources.
Hand and traces of hands are used as a reoccurring symbol to tie together reflections of inherited mental health issues, the digital economy, landscape and mediation.
Pattern, form, colour and texture are utilised to explore the politics of surface, time and materiality. 20°32'50.4"S 67°22'57.6"W is a psychedelic, hypnogogic film about energy and the forming of both internal and external landscapes.
A soundtrack for the work 'Modern Living' is available from Café Oto's in house label here https://www.cafeoto.co.uk/shop/rob-lye-modern-living/.
Shot on location in Bolivia with additional camera work by Hania Stella-Sawicka and Johnny Alaho. With the support of Arts Council England UAL and Loughborough University.