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.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Laura Twigg

Working with my enjoyment of materials my work draws from the interaction between the readymade and the handmade. Collecting found materials within the space is a communication of the relationship between material and form. By contrasting these I am exploring the context of objects in relation to the histories of the material. I am inspired by the materiality of objects, their nature of form and how we adapt these into our environments. I am interested in the tension between natural and fabricated form and sculpturally how this creates a sense of spatial awareness. Informed by a sense of labour and craft, ceramic form communicates a concern of craft and mass production. Raw clay communicates malleability, allowing me to directly react with the material in a space in an instinctive way. Completing a residency at Spode in my hometown of Stoke-on-Trent has identified an exchange of cultural materiality between students from The University of Nottingham Trent, Muthesius Kunsthochschule, Bergen Academy of Art & Design, The Royal Academy of Art Copenhagen, Newcastle-upon-Tyne University and Sheffield Hallam University. Identifying these new relationships has broadened my conceptual understanding of ceramics and sculpture. Working with ceramicists and technicians has allowed me to access ideas and combine a social awareness with writings such as ‘Failure’ by Lisa Le Feuvre and ‘The Dematerialisation of the art object’ by Lucy Lippard.

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