Office of Experiments has developed as a research studio for collaborative projects and experiments in art and art-making. The Office of Experiments also develops, maps, collects and responds to new experimental thinking as it manifests both within and beyond the spaces of art, science and society.
The experiment as a controlled (non-haphazard) process describes a structure (or event-structure) that leads to anticipated and unexpected events. In the contemporary context, science experiments are developed in the laboratory but also across networked, digital, social or remote infrastructures, facilities and sites (Rheinberger). Likewise, we develop experiments both in the studio and beyond, working on new event structures in collaboration with multiple actors. For the Office of Experiments, those actors bring new perspectives in their respective fields; art, science, architecture, academic disciplines and activism etc. Such new perspectives lead us to an ongoing analysis of how, when and where productive experiments take place, and therefore towards a necessary re-thinking of how forms of knowledge that shape society, environment and politics emerge.
Office of Experiments was established in 2004 . Its founding principles based on artistic, philosophical and historical concepts of experimentation (including temporal inquiry) first in art, then later in experimental systems and epistemic things (Rheinberger). Our aim was to explore the conceptual boundary of knowledge, the artwork, and the dominance of the artist figure through collective practice.
We were influenced directly by a range of historic and contemporary artists and artist-led organisations on this journey,. This includes an early dialogue with John Latham and O+I ( formerly known as Artist Placement Group UK) and through commissioned projects with organisations such as Center for Land Use Interpretation (USA), and a number of other marginal institutions in UK and USA.
The project owes much to direct support from Arts Catalyst, a leading International transdisciplinary art agency based in London.
For a more detailed and academically focussed interview on Office of Experiments, read Jussi Parikka’s website here:
Office of Experiments individual projects have involved a range of artists, activists, architects and academics:
Neal White (UK), N55 (DK), Steve Rowell (USA), Tina O’Connell (UK & Ireland), Lisa Haskell (UK), Rob Smith (UK) and Anna Troisi (I/UK), Luce Choules (UK), Dr Kathrin Soldhju (DE), Professor Gail Davies (UK), Dr Dominic Walker (UK), Dr Nicholas Langlitz (DE/USA) Erik Kearney (IE) and Bill Thompson (US/UK) with Rob La Frenais, Nicola Triscott, Anna Santamoro, Claudia Lastra, Lala Thorpe, Ross Roberston and others at Arts Catalyst.
Credits, Associate members and other key figures
Office of Experiments was founded by the artist Neal White to address collective forms of arts practice that emerged in digital arts and conceptual / social practices. Key to our formation in the early 2000’s were SODA, an art and technology group (co-founded by White, 1998-2002), the Arts Catalyst (est. 1997, and staff), the 2004 configuration of N55 (Ingvil Aarbakke, Ion Sorvin) and encounters with London based artist John Latham (1921-2006). Early research and mapping projects (Overt research) were developed with Steve Rowell, a programme manager at Center for Land Use Interpretation (USA) with online development by Lisa Haskel. Research from 2004 -12 has been conducted with associate members, including; Gail Davies (Exeter University)
From 2012 we have produced sculptural projects integrating data driven software and electronics engineering with support from Anna Troisi, Rob Smith and Rebecca Birch (Field Broadcast) and on social/public projects with artist Tina O’Connell (IE). Our most recent experimental outputs have been developed with electronics engineer Erik Kearney, and sound composer Bill Thomson, and draw on research conducted with advice from a wide range of academics as evident in the context of each work. Our most recent collaborations are with Zone2Source (NL), and Monsoon Assemblages (UK).
From 2016- Office of Experiments has been used to develop a new collaborative research model and research studio inside the University of Westminster; The Deep Field Project, where White works with emerging artists including Jol Thoms (CA) and Diann Bauer (US/UK) alongside graduate researchers who are also artists.
Thanks to our many collaborators and supporters, but specifically;
Tina O’Connell (IE) – collaborator and advisor.
John Latham and Flat Time House curators; including; Sophie Olfers (DE), Simon Gould, Elisa Kay, Antony Hudek (BE), Sarah Andrews and Gareth Bell-Jones.
To curators and supporters of research, complex and challenging projects; Rob La Frenais (Arts Catalyst), Stephen Foster (John Hansard), Donald Smith (Chelsea College of Art), Lisa Le Feuvre (Henry Moore Institute) and Erich Berger (Solu, Finland). To colleagues and staff at CREAM, University of Westminster.
With an honorary mention to activist and autonomous researcher: Mike Kenner.
CREAM at University of Westminster, The Latham Estate, O+I (formerly Artist Placement Group), The Centre for Land Use Interpretation, The Henry Moore Foundation, Arts Council England, Camberwell Offsite Projects, John Hansard Gallery, SCAN, Chelsea Space, Chelsea College of Art, Max-Planck Institute, The Media School at Bournemouth University, FACT, Liverpool
Projects supported and funded by:
Arts Council of England
Arts Catalyst – 2002-
Henry Moore Institute
Portikus – Hochschule für Bildende Künste Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main – Germany
Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp – Belgium
Austrian Science Fund
Flat Time House – The Latham Foundation
Center for Land Use Interpretation – USA
Wellcome Trust – UK
CREAM at University of Westminster
UAL: Camberwell & Chelsea
FACT – Liverpool – UK
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation – UK
b-side Festival – UK
Bournemouth University – UK
Museum of London – UK
Heritage Lottery Fund – UK