Red Dot contact details Migration Exhibition

Neil Winterburn


I'm a conceptual artist and my practice investigates problems of modern philosophy of the mind in a postmodern social setting. Communication games/happenings in real social spaces and shared virtual spaces, in which collaborators create language networks for end users to interact with, have been the two methods I have deployed the most in recent years.
Having written that admittedly quite wanky opening couple of sentences, it's important to admit that I'm a long way from being an academic. I get most of my ideas from misinterpreting 'beginners guides to...' type books on various philosophers and snippets of Bertram Russells 'History of Western Philosophy' which my mate found amongst other things in a suitcase mysteriously left behind by the previous occupants of his flat...
In 'History of Western Philosophy' Bertram Russell once wrote of the much more famous Hegel, explaining that in his early adulthood he had a mystical experience of the fundamental oneness of the world around us. Hegel spent the rest of his life trying to represent and understand this in much more tangible terms.
I'm beginning to feel a bit like that as I had a bit of a mystical experience in a night club once (not a drugs experience, just too much chemically beer), which I have come to understand as the basis for most of my artwork since. Unfortunately my similarity with the german genius ends around about there.
Here's some quotes about that experience from a story I wrote.

"I had a similar experience to this in the basement of Silks nightclub back home in York years ago......"

"...But that moment I was so low that it felt like I faded down and I could see other peoples' worlds projecting beyond their bodies. I could see/imagine that woman's worklife and home life and ideas and memories of all the different parts of her life and mind projecting out beyond the walls we were in, like constellations mapping out her consciousness. I could 'see' the consciousness constellations of anyone I focused on. With each new persons' constellations interpolating simultaneously with the rest. It was the nearest thing I've had to a spiritual experience, barely awake, my mind so drunk and low I couldn't raise it to think."

During my degree, I explored this phenomenon (of simultaneously coexistent consciousness' in social spaces) with sculptural games and happenings. Creating malleable environments from household objects that became the medium through which opposing wills competed to have things their way.
This work culminated in an event where I hired a van and transported 20 or so peoples' household furniture and belongings to my house and invited the participants to work together or against each other to arrange the house as they saw fit.
Since then I have focused less on the conflict that comes with different people trying to effect the shared physical spaces they are in, and more on trying to develop new ways of communicating that are more representative of the fact that each of us can understand. For example, the same greeting or conversation, in terms of an entirely different private & sealed personal galaxy of references (memories/ideas/emotions etc).
So taking the idea that 'language is the mirror of the mind' and jumping to the conclusion that, more specifically, your language is the mirror of your mind and my language is the mirror of mine, I have spent the past five years developing 'Flunstellas' (an amalgam of flocks/clusters/constellations).
These are disembodied personal networks or constellations of language that float around social spaces.
They can be made physically and simply stuck around places with Blu-tac (as with the TweePrototype project) or rendered to appear in interactive digital spaces (as with the Flunstellas & Bluescreen projects).
Although sometimes its been necessary to experiment on my own, the most important aspect of Flunstellas is that they interpolate with other peoples' Flunstellas simultaneously in the same space.
I have distributed these projects in CD-rom format for sale in shops & for free with Nerve magazine.

Previous Exhibitions

‘Left Right of Centre’ - Static Gallery, Liverpool (Nov 1999).
Drawlab group exhibition - St Helen’s World of Glass (Sept 2002)

Previous Artwork

TweePrototype cd-rom (Sept 2002).
Cocktail sticks cd-rom(Sept 2003).
Bluescreen cd-rom (Sept 2003).
Flunstellas cd-rom, 2000 copies distributed free with NERVE magazine. (Sept 2004).
3D_AZ cd-rom (Dec 2004).
“Why don't you?” cd-rom (June 2005). website launch (Nov 2006)

Forthcoming Projects

I have been working with SOLA arts (a community arts organisation that works with refugees and asylum seekers) to make 'boxroom', which is a new collaboration project.
Boxroom was exhibited at the National portrait gallery in 2006 and will be available as an interactive download in March 2007. This will be launched alongside another Flunstellas project 'PPAAARRRTTTYYY'.
'PPPAAARRRTTTYYY' and 'Boxroom' will be distributed from from March 2007. Launch events will be confirmed nearer the time.




Flunstella Web Flier
Nerve Magazine Flunstellas CD-Rom
My Party
My Blue Screen
3d AZ