Office of Experiments, Steve Rowell, Beatriz da Costa, Victoria Halford and Steve Beard

Dark Places uncovers sites of secrecy and technology across Britain. Commissioned by The Arts Catalyst and co-curated with the Office of Experiments, SCAN and the John Hansard Gallery, the exhibition presents new artists' works that explore spaces and institutions below the radar of common knowledge.

The Office of Experiments' (OOE) Overt Research Project sets a background by mapping and recording advanced labs and facilities that are unwittingly - or purposefully - concealed from public view. The work features an interpretive slideshow and a field guide to local sites through an information kiosk. Elsewhere in the gallery, OOE brings together The Mike Kenner Archive, revealing years of campaigning by one man into the public biochemical warfare experiments conducted by Porton Down (Salisbury).

Victoria Halford and Steve Beard's film Voodoo Science Park traces a secret geography of the Health and Safety Laboratory in Derbyshire, where train crashes and industrial accidents are re-created to examine their destructive pathways. Mixing fact and fiction, the film imagines a delayed encounter between poet William Blake and political philosopher Thomas Hobbes, drawing affinities to this unique site.

Beatriz da Costa's A Memorial for the Still Living is a sombre reflection on endangered species of the British Isles. Presenting a selection of rare animal, insect and reptile specimens, including loans from the Natural History and Horniman Museums, da Costa identifies these collections - and the bleak future they imply - as 'dark places' of zoological science.

Steve Rowell, a collaborator with the US-based group the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), in his solo project Ultimate High Ground UK, uncovers shared US-UK spaces of military power. Realised as a multiscreen video installation, the work focuses upon RAF Menwith Hill, North Yorkshire, a satellite ground station and communications intercept site, known for its distinctive radome structures.

Dark Places is revealed in greater depth in a filmed artists' interview, on show throughout and a special Dark Places publication, featuring a new essay by writer and critic Sally O'Reilly.

Commissioned by The Arts Catalyst and co-curated with the Office of Experiments, SCAN and the John Hansard Gallery.

The exhibition has been made possible by funding from Arts Council England. The Office of Experiments' Overt Research Project is supported by UCL Department of Geography and the Media School, Bournemouth University.


Children's Workshop: Secret Species
Saturday 12 December 2009 / 11.30am - 3.30pm / Free
For participants ages 8+ / Booking required
Using mixed media and sculpture, create and document your own endangered species or creature that might exist in the hidden locations uncovered by the artists. Will your creature dwell in dark places or become a delightful discovery? Let your imagination decide. Led by artist Lizzie Jones.
To book email education@hansardgallery.org.uk or telephone +44 (0)23 8059 2160.

Secrecy and Technology Bus Tour - The Cold War Legacy in the South
Saturday 23 January 2010 / 10am - 6pm / Tickets £10
Artists from the Office of Experiments and other experts lead this fascinating bus tour of critical sites of advanced technological development in the South of England. The tour will focus on sites that emerged during the tensions and paranoias of the Cold War. Participants will need to bring photo ID and may bring cameras or other recording equipment and materials, as desired. Tickets cost �10, with lunch and refreshments provided.
To book call +44 (0)23 8059 2158 or email info@hansardgallery.org.uk

Photo by Steve Rowell (www.steverowell.com)

Event Title: DARK PLACES
Further Details:
-Visit the John Hansard Gallery website" target="_blank"> -Visit the John Hansard Gallery website
Contact Email: info@hansardgallery.org.uk