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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
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
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