Neal White is an artist and director of Office of Experiments; a network of artists, academics, scientists, curators, amateur enthusiasts and activists. This network has created a structure which has enabled the production of ‘experimental’ projects.
The Office of Experiments dismisses traditional methodologies of experimentation, that which relies upon clear-cut boundaries and repetitive operations. Instead the Office of Experiments aims to create a new methodology, with the view that by interfering with the experimental process, we can hope to yield truly unexpected results.
Arts Catalyst commissioned Neal on the project A Field User’s Guide to Dark Places, in 2012, an online database detailing sites of secrecy in the world of science and technology. This resource is a response to the vast infrastructure of the techno-scientific and industrial/military complex deliberately kept under close guard. White’s research considers political and philosophical questions concerning inaccessible / secret spaces, and is focused upon the South of England.
In 2010, Neal White ran the ‘Experimental Ruins Workshop’, alongside Gail Davies of UCL’s Department of Geography and fellow Office of Experiments artist, Steve Rowell. The workshop involved talks and discussions between geographers, artists, historians of science and technology, and the archivists and archaeologists of contemporary history. The subjects under discussion explored biological, technological, informational and radical experiments in London, applying White’s psychogeographical curiosity to the immediate environment. Uncontrolled Hermetic, an installation by Neal White in 2002, was an early expression of White’s interest with experimental methodologies inspired by visits to genetics, pharmaceutical and space laboratories around Europe. Uncontrolled Hermetic imitated the activities and methods that scientists and manufacturers use to conduct experiments and to build specialist equipment in the laboratory.
Neal has been invited to contribute to Notes from the Field: Commoning Practices in Art and Science, in 2016, a multi-faceted project that will investigates the notion of art as a tool or tactic for action with communities, with a focus on projects involving science and technology or driven by ecological concerns.