The Office of experiments: experimental research in the expanded field of contemporary art.
Authors: White, N.
Challenging established academic and techno-scientific enclosures of interdisciplinary or boundary research between art and other disciplines, the thesis provides an analysis of a series of critical research projects undertaken since 2004. The author argues that through critical forms of artistic research, new forms of knowledge production are possible that operate beyond current enclosures. Using Office of Experiments' (est.
2004) publicly exhibited works, research databases and publications, a body of evidence is described that represents a sustained contribution to artistic and academic discourse through collaborative and collective practice. This research and the formation of The Office of Experiments by White, provides the basis for the argument that artists are becoming engaged in ‘instituent’ forms of practice (Raunig) that are indirectly beginning to challenge the monopoly of established and hegemonic institutional spaces; the Museum and the University, gallery and the archive.
In the context of interdisciplinary research, the concept of boundary objects (Gieryn and Borgdorff), an expanded field of art (Krauss), are discussed in relation to the author's concerns with critical and social practices. Using examples such as Artist Placement Group and The Center for Land Use Interpretation, it is argued that there needs to be a greater consideration and concern afforded to knowledge production developed in rigorous forms beyond the academic realm in order to fully interrogate emerging contexts of technology and science, new moral and ethical dimensions, new politics and antagonisms. It is argued that in essence, stemming from a frustration with limiting processes in academia, the published research of The Office of Experiments led by White provides examples of critical knowledge as developed by a new form of parallel institution. It is argued that such practices, when critically engaged with existing institutions of knowledge and culture, create new antagonistic spaces in which productive epistemic encounters can take place.
In addition to the written thesis, the published research is presented through a browser to allow the reader to navigate documentation and traces of exhibitions, digital archives and artist publications, along with the full text of referenced citations of these works from major catalogues and published articles and journals. The database itself reflects a key dimension in the critical research practice that has attempted to present knowledge within an open model for dissemination purposes.