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

Trying to make the best of it.

To me the Spode factory is like an old friend or relative, not just a random factory, it's special. It has led a long and full life and if it had not been for us, the humans who have developed a certain relationship to it, it wouldn't mind to just die in peace. It is we who want it to get better, we hold on and try to clean up what we can while the factory is getting dirtier and weaker by the day. We want it to give us more, to tell us more stories about when it was young, about all the people it has known, but the factory is just a factory. 

It's clear no one will ever be able to save it, maybe give some parts of it a facelift, but it won't be the same. 

Works from the factory september 2012:

Ceramic tiles/cut-up decals from site.

Works from Rom8 in Bergen, October 2012:

Bone china from site/Limoges porcelain/self-made decals

Anne Stinessen

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