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, 10 February 2013

From last time till next time

My response to the site has been with a project where I attempt to highlight the tear and wear of the buildings, to link together the time period from before and after the factory closed down. Revealing the marks of time that are embedded in the architecture, the skeleton, by adding to the structure and/or taking away from it. By altering, manipulating or alienating parts of a space the whole becomes visible in a different way. 
The free growth of plants and the marks of ruination brings on a feeling of a landscape in the making, which happens when architecture, a piece of construction, is abandoned for a time. The feeling the visual elements from Spode bring to my imagination is similar to the one I get from a desert, a feeling of something being wast, quiet and empty. A desert, like the Spode Factory, has the ability to look and feel empty, although that is not the reality. A desert is a space conceived as dry, hot, vast, quiet and barren. A far away place, distant in both geographical and cultural terms.

A desert can also refer to something that is deserted, left.

Last time I worked on a project I called Timelines:

There is a crack in the floor of the China Hall. The crack starts where a walk-path that was painted on the floor ends and it leads out to the wall where on the other side the plants continue growing. The crack connects the path and the growth outside. A timeline of some sort. I filled that crack with Bone China slip from the factory and then another crack and another until I had filled- or drawn up lines that spread over a massive space. The Bone China then cracked inside the veins as it dried out. The highlighting made the subtle landscape of the concrete floor visible.

Crackling bone china inspires me and will continue to be my material.

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