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30 OCTOBER 2013

Dark Places: arts research exploring UK techno-scientific and industrial / military infrastructure

"Dark Places is part of the Overt Research Project, run by Office of Experiments.

This work was first shown publicly at the exhibition 'Dark Places' curated by Office of Experiments with John Hansard Gallery, Arts Catalyst and SCAN [http://www.scansite.org] in 2009–10. This site was publicly launched on 13th December 2010.

In developing the work for this exhibition, we imagined the construction of an alternative and experimental knowledge source that in turn maps all other sites of knowledge, as they exist in the UK Landscape. A 'Field Guide to Dark Places' is the first of these experimental resources, and aims to draw on and develop responses to the vast infrastructure of the techno–scientific and industrial / military complex, probing aesthetic, political and philosophical questions around spaces that are inaccessible or in some cases secret. (for reasons varying from simple understanding to physical and security issues – the performance as the writer Foucault would state of 'heterotopias').

Overall, the Overt Research Project is vast and so our aim was initially to start with an experience of physical sites within reach of John Hansard Gallery. Our research of these sites has led us to create experimental methods which in turn led to a number of installations, that can be seen by going to the John Hansard Gallery entry on this site (Southampton).

Whilst our own researchers, specifically Neal White and Steve Rowell, largely conducted research for the Dark Places Field Guide, our aim now is to extend the scale of this work by opening up this resource to enthusiasts, amateur scientists and urban explorers. If you would like to take part, we ask that you attend a physical event, as critical to our work is the link between the imaginary and the real – often confounded by pure virtual experience. We have run a number of events at which you can register to become an official Overt Researcher. These have most frequently included 'Critical Excursions'."

(Office of Experiments)

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TAGS

2009 • aesthetic questions • alternative knowledge • amateur science • art exhibitionart installationart work • critical excursions • dark places • Dark Places (exhibition) • dark tourism • digital artsenthusiastsexperience projectexperimental knowledge • experimental research methods • experimental resource • field guide • Field Guide to Dark Places (resource) • heterotopiahuman experienceimaginary spaces • inaccessible spaces • industrial archaeology • interdisciplinary arts • John Hansard Gallery • landscapemapsMichel Foucaultmilitary complexmilitary hardwaremilitary historymilitary-industrial complexnational securityNeal White • Office of Experiments • Overt Research Project (ORP) • philosophical questionsphysical event • physical site • political questions • SCAN (agency) • secret town • security issues • sites of knowledge • South of EnglandSouthampton • Steve Rowell • techno-scientific • technoscience • The Arts Catalyst • UKurban explorerurban geographyvirtual experience

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
03 DECEMBER 2012

Sinclair ZX81: semigraphical / pseudographical characters

"If you press GRAPHICS (shifted 9) then the cursor will come up as : this means graphics mode. If you type in a symbol it will appear in its inverse video form, & this will go on until you press GRAPHICS again or NEWLINE. RUBOUT will have its usual meaning. Be careful not to lose the cursor  amongst all the inverse video characters you've just typed in. ...

Right at the beginning are space & ten patterns of black, white & grey blobs; further on there are eleven more. These are called the graphics symbols & are used for drawing pictures. You can enter these from the keyboard, using graphics mode (except for space, which is an ordinary symbol using the  cursor; the black square is inverse space). You use the 20 keys that have graphics symbols written on them. For instance, suppose you want the symbol , which is on the T key. Press GRAPHICS to get the  cursor, & then press shifted T. From the previous description of the graphics mode, you would expect to get an inverse video symbol; but shifted T is normally <>, a token, & tokens have no inverses: so you get the graphics symbol  instead."

(Steven Vickers, 1981, Sinclair Research Limited)

Fig.1 "graphics mode" table from Steven Vickers (1981). "Sinclair ZX81 BASIC Programming", Second Edition 1981, Copyright 1980 Sinclair Research Limited (converted to HTML by Robin Stuart).

2). Matthew Eagles (2008). "ZX81 VDU" TrueType font which replicates the letters, numbers etc. displayed on the screen of the ZX81.

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TAGS

1980s19818-bitbasic geometric shapesblack and white • block graphics • computer historygeometric figuresgeometric shapes • graphic symbols • graphical building block • graphics mode • history of computinghome computerindustrial archaeologymanualmonotone • PETSCII • pictorial systemspixel matrix • pseudographics • semigraphical characters • semigraphics • Sinclair Research Ltd • Sinclair ZX80 • Sinclair ZX81 • sixels • symbolsymbolstypefacevintage technologyvisualisationZX81

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
02 AUGUST 2012

Computer History Museum: Selling the Computer Revolution

"The brochures selected here (just a fraction of the Museum's holdings in this area) show some of the more important technologies, companies, and applications in computing from 1948 to 1988. This covers the period from mechanical and relay–based computers to those based on the microprocessor – a remarkable transition that occurred over only 25 years. We hope you enjoy browsing through these historical documents."

(Computer History Museum)

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TAGS

1940s1950s1960s1970s1980sanalogue computerAppleApple LisaApple PCArs TechnicaAtariBBC Microbrochure • Burroughs Corporation • COBOL • CommodoreCommodore 64computercomputer historyComputer History Museum • computer revolution • David Ogilvy • device • file system • Fortranhistorical documentshistoryhistory of computingIBMIBM PC • IBM PCjr • important technologiesindustrial archaeologyindustrial designinformation ageinnovationMad Menmainframemarketing campaignmaterial culturemechanical computer • microprocessor • museumPCproduct design • relay-based computers • retrosales brochureselling the computer revolutiontechnological change • technological evolution • technological innovationtechnologytechnology companiestechnology marketingtechnophobiaTexas Instrumentstransitional technologiesUNIVAC 9000 Seriesvintage technology • Wang Laboratories • ZX Spectrum

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
20 NOVEMBER 2009

Sound Mirrors: dead-end technology

"Pioneered by the obsessive Dr W.S. Tucker of the Royal Engineers, the concrete sound mirrors were intended to provide early warning of incoming enemy aeroplanes and airships about to attack coastal towns.

But with the development of faster aircraft and the increasing racket from the holiday resort down the road, the effectiveness of the mirrors twindled as an aircraft would be within sight by the time it had been located. The last nail was finally driven into the coffin of this uniquely English folly by the evolution of radar systems, so by 1934 they had tragically became obsolete."

(David Barrington, 04.07.2006)

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TAGS

19161930s1934 • acoustic mirrors • aeroplaneaircraft • airships • architectureconcretedead-end technology • early warning • engineeringEnglandenvironmentindustrial archaeologyindustrial designlistening earsmilitary complexmilitary hardwaremirrornational securityobsolescenceobsolete technologyradar • Royal Engineers • sound mirror • techno-scientifictechnologyUK • W.S. Tucker • World War IWW1

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
14 JULY 2009

The UK National Videogame Archive

"The National Videogame Archive is a joint project between the National Media Museum and Nottingham Trent University, which aims to celebrate that culture and preserve that history for researchers, developers, game fans and the public.

Announced in September 2008, the Archive is working to preserve, analyse and display the products of the global videogame industry by placing games in their historical, social, political and cultural contexts. This means treating videogames as more than inert, digital code: at the heart of the National Videogames Archive is the determination to document the full life of games, from protoypes and early sketches, through box–art, advertising and media coverage, to mods, fanart and community activities."

(The National Videogame Archive, 24th Feb 2009)

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TAGS

2008archive • box-art • creative industriesculturedevicedigitaldigital mediafan artgameGame Citygame modGameCity • GameCity Festival • history of video gamesindustrial archaeologyindustrial designinnovationinteractive media • mods • multimediaNational Media Museum • National Videogame Archive • NottinghamNottingham Trent UniversityNTUpreservationproduct designrepositorytechnologyUKvideo game

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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