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.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Reading List

Here is the list of publications we have all contributed with, thanks for all your suggestions. Keep them coming.

·       “The return of the real: Art and Theory at the end of the Century: Anant-gard at the end of the century”. Hal Foster.
·       “One Place after another: site specific art and locational identity”. Miwon Kwon.
·       “The Craftsman.” Richard Sennet.
·       “The corrosion of Character: personal consequences of work in the new capitalism.” Richard Sennett.
·       “Staging the people: the proletarian and his double.” Jacques Ranciere.
·       “The Poetics of Space.” Gaston Bachelard.
·       “Space and Place.” Yi-Fu Tuan.
·       “Storming the Gates of Paradise.” RS Solnit
·       “Edgelands”. Michael Symmons Roberts, Paul Farley.
·       “Restless Cities.” Matthew Beaumont.
·       “The possibility of life’s Survival on the planet.” Patrick Keiller.
·       “Place (Art Works)”. Tacita Dean.
·       “Still Moving: Between Cinema and Photography.” Karen Beckman, Jean Ma.
·       “The place of Artists’ cinema space, site and screen.” Maeve Connolly.
·       “The Anthropology of turquoise: reflections on desert, sea, stone, sky.” Meloy Ellen.
·       “History of the Staffordshire potteries: and the rise and progress of the manufacture of pottery and porcelain (1900).” Simeon Shaw
·       “Clayhanger” Arnold Bennett
·       Anna of the five towns.” Arnold Bennett
·       Memories of the Staffordshire potteries”. Mervyn Edwards
·        “The lost city of Stoke-on-Trent” Emma Bridgewater, Matthew Rice.
·       “A plated article. With an introductory account of the historical Spode-Copeland china works to which it refers.” Charles Dickens
·       “Spode-Copeland-Spode: its works and its people 1770-1970.” Vega Wilkinson
·       “Spode and Copeland: over two hundred years of fine china and porcelain. Steven Smith.
·       “Ruins”. Michel Makarius
·       “Drosscape: wasting land in urban America.” Alan Berger
·       “Exploring the site specific: issues of space and internationalism.” Judith Rugg
·       “Artificial Hells: participatory art and the politics of spectatorship.” Claire Bishop
·       “Site specific art: performance, place and documentation.” Nick Kaye
·       “Utopias.” Documents of contemporary art. Richard Nobel.
·       “Species of spaces and other pieces.” Georges Perec
·       “Evocative objects: things we think with.” Sherry Turkle
·        “Archive.” Documents of contemporary art, Charles Merewether
·       “Living as form: socially engaged art from 1991-2011.” N Thompson
·       “Nature.” Documents of contemporary art. Jeffrey Kastner.
·       “Approbation.” Documents of contemporary art. David Evans.
·       “Ruins”. Documents of contemporary art. Brian Dillon.
·       “Situation.” Documents of contemporary art. Claire Doherty.
·        “The Everyday.” Documents of contemporary art. Stephen Johnstone.
·       “Wanderlust: a History of walking.” Rebecca Solnit.
·       “News from nowhere: or, an epoch of rest. Being some chapters from a utopian romance.” William Morris
·       “A modern Utopia.” H G Wells
·       “Ecotopia” Ernest Callenbach
·        “Dead cities: and other tales.” Mike Davis
·       “The aesthetics of natural environments” Allen Carlson and Arnold Berleant
·       “The wild places.” Robert Macfarlane
·       “Art, ethics and environment: a free inquiry into the vulgarly received notion of nature.” Æsa Sigurjonsdottir, Olafur Pall Jonsson.
·       “The aesthetics of the natural environment.” Emily Brady
·       “Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes”. Andrew Blauveit; Walker Art Center, 2008
·       “Night Haunts; A journey through the London night.” Sukhdev Sandu; Verso, 2010  (see also associated website:
·       “Bipolar Horizon.” Siri Hermansen
·       "Samtidsruinar". Marit Eikemo.
·       Persistent Memories: Pyramiden - A Soviet “Mining Town in the High Arctic”. Hein B. Bjerck, Bjørnar Olsen, Elin Andreassen.
·       "Den emansiperte tilskuer”. Jacques Rancière.
·       “The anthropology of Turquoise”. Ellen Leroy.
·       “New york trilogy”. Paul Auster.
·       “Communities of Sense -rethinking aesthetics and politics”
·       “The world of Downton Abbey.” Jessica Fellowes.

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