Topographies of the Obsolete is an artistic research project that focuses on the closed Spode Works in Stoke-on-Trent, UK.

The first workshop Resurrecting the Obsolete took place in September 2012 in the Spode Factory, Stoke on Trent, UK organized by Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Norway (KHiB).

KHiB was invited as a Research Fellow Partner Institution by the British Ceramics Biennial 2013 and the first workshop included 33 staff and students from KHiB, The Royal Academy of Art Copenhagen, Muthesius Kunsthochschule Kiel, Sheffield Hallam Univerisity, University of Nottingham Trent and invited alumni/artists from KHiB. Together we explored the Spode site’s histories, industrial space and infrastructure.

The workshops have uncovered a variety of methods and strategies exploring the complexity of the site from different perspectives and practices particular to each of the artists/students involved. We had a great variation of expressions ranging from the performative intervention based to installation and object based work.

The second of the research residency took place in March 2013 as the artistic research project Topographies of the Obsolete. The third workshop takes place in August 2013.

In September a number of participants from the research project will present their works during the British Ceramics Biennial 2013.

This site will act as a meeting point for participants and others interested in our progress.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Untold stories

The first days of the workshop at Spode Factory was overwhelming and very exciting. I had never been to a place like that before, and I felt honored to be there and for letting me explore a factory that has such a big place in Stoke-on-Trent's history. 

I've worked a lot with absurd and surreal situations and I'm interested in what it is that makes people do strange things in everyday life. What happens when I stage a person into a specific situation and why? Sometimes I want the observer to make up their own stories by looking at my staged photographs, because there isn’t always an answer to why these situations happen and why people do what they do. This was the starting point for the project I did in the factory, and since the story that I wanted to tell wasn't completely set, I wanted to see what possibilities the rooms had. I would go into a room and try out different approaches. If I didn't feel that the room was suited for it, I would go to the next one. I worked quite intuitively. Some of the ideas and thoughts that have gone through my mind after the workshop is that the woman in my photographs is feeling lost and that she doesn't know where she belongs. Where and what is her place? She has a connection to the place, but somehow she doesn't know why. Maybe she has worked there and find it hard to leave?  

Here is 4 out of 7 photographs from the project with the working title "Untold stories". 

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