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Dark Places (continued)

Neal White's (Office of Experiments) installation 'The Mike Kenner Archive - Tales from the ARC', 2009, has led to the creation of the 'Autonomous Researcher Collection', a resource for amateur and independent researchers. Mike Kenner's archive is documentation of his campaign looking at Porton Down's suspect activities, which has been conducted for over twenty years.

This installation is similar to Adam Chodzko's film 'Around', with its discovery of an archive buried under a demolished building, revealing an independent researcher's documentation of the strange 'force field' surrounding a housing estate. This is understandably very appropriate material for Chodzko who adresses boundaries, strange and hidden links and networks in his work.

White displays a desk sawn in half, suggesting connectivity and threatening influences beyond the work and the Mike Kenner archive; a collection of files in a plastic container on wheels, encouraging amateurs and political enthusiasts with 'Field Researchers' Tools' which includes an 'Overt Researcher Identity Card' which can be shown when active in the field to "maintain plausability" [6]

The serious and yet emergent political implications of this work, which are never overtly stated, take us "offshore" [7] into a networked culture in White's and Rowell's work, and with da Costa, Halford & Beard into a deeper understanding of ecology and history.


Sarah Thompson 14.12.09

[1] Sally O'Reilly, Dark Places, Catalogue, p5

[2] Jennifer Thatcher, Crunch Time, Art Monthly, Dec - Jan 09-10, p6

[3] Sally O'Reilly, Dark Places, Catalogue, p5

[4] Dark Places, Catalogue, p10

[5] Sally O'Reilly, Dark Places, catalogue, p7

[6] Office of Experiments, Dark Places, Catalogue, p17

[7] "...the 'offshore' location of contemporary practice." Okwui Enwezor, Alter Modern, Tate Publishing, 2009

John Hansard Gallery