The Experimental Ruins Workshop continues Neal White/The Office of Experiments' ongoing 'Overt Research Project', an ongoing series of enquiries into the experimental spaces of science and technology, commissioned by The Arts Catalyst.
In this workshop, Gail Davies (UCL, Department of Geography) and artists Neal White and Steve Rowell (The Office of Experiments) invited participants to explore what constitutes an 'experimental ruin' within the fabric of our urban centres. The workshop was a collaborative engagement between geographers, artists and others interested in the experimental geographies of science and technology.
In their initial field research project for The Arts Catalyst's exhibition Dark Places, Neal White and Steve Rowell focused attention on the rural landscapes of Southern England, documenting spaces in which large-scale scientific and intelligence facilities are sited, ranging from research centres to military proving grounds. In the second part of the project, London becomes the setting, a space that requires a different method of enquiry.
The workshop encompassed discussion of the ways we might identify: the material traces of biological, technological, informational and radical experiments in London; the temporal and spatial imaginaries embodied in such experimental sites, whether open, closed, subterranean or aerial; the methods for encountering and expanding engagements around these spaces, and the stakes involved in doing so.
With talks, discussion and exploration between geographers, artists, historians of science and technology, and the archivists and archaeologists of contemporary history, the event was part of ongoing discussions around the 'geographies of experimentation' and the nature of experimental aesthetics; shaping future forms of enquiry around these experimental remainders that are both collective and contested.
The Arts Catalyst, UCL Department of Geography and the ESRC fellowship (Grant no RES-063-27-0093)