Augmented Reality Art Installation Unveiled at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva Highlights Ongoing Threat of Corporate Capture
Geneva, Switzerland – A new augmented reality art installation will be unveiled today during the United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights at the UN Headquarters in Geneva. The groundbreaking piece, entitled ICARUS, is the work of award-winning artist Peter Wu+, and was commissioned by the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) as the latest installation of the Capitol, Inc. project.
“Just like this artwork, corporate influence in the political process is invisible by design—unless we know where to look and build the right tools to reveal its presence, it shapes our lives without ever making itself known.” said ICAR Executive Director David McKean. “With ICARUS, Peter has produced augmented reality artwork that is both a technical achievement and a call to action. The piece highlights the ever-present threat of undue corporate influence designed to undermine policy making efforts that would protect people and the planet. Unless we take steps to prevent this warping of the process, it will only get harder to make progress on these critical issues.”
Over the past several years, the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights has been engaging with the question of how to ensure that business lobbying efforts and other contacts with the political process do not lead to human rights abuses. In July 2022, the Working Group issued its report “Corporate influence in the political and regulatory sphere: Ensuring business practice in line with the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,” which makes numerous specific recommendations to states and to businesses to address this challenge. That report was followed up with sessions at last year’s Forum and this year’s Forum meant to showcase the urgency of the challenge.
ICARUS brings shape to the challenge and the threat and demands a response.
“Corporate capture orchestrates the invisibility of power, veiling its influence like a puppeteer pulling strings in the shadows. ICARUS attempts to render visible the unseen hands maneuvering behind the curtains of governance, revealing how powerful entities manipulate systems to serve their interests,” said Peter Wu+, the artist behind the installation. “Exposing corporate capture is akin to shedding light on the puppet master, unraveling the intricate web of influence woven to sway decision-making in favor of vested interests, a step in reclaiming democratic integrity.”
ICAR’s augmented reality art installations are produced in collaboration with pioneering interdisciplinary artist Nancy Baker Cahill and the 4th Wall platform. To learn more about the campaign and to view ICARUS and previous installations, visit https://www.capitol-inc.org/