Topographies of the Obsolete

Exploring the Site Specific and Associated Histories of Post-Industry

Bergen academy of art and design, department of fine art

Project leaders: Neil Brownsword and Anne Helen Mydland

Topographies of the Obsolete: Exploring the Site Specific and Associated Histories of Post-Industry is a project in collaboration with partner universities/institutions in Denmark, Germany and the UK. Our main collaborative partner is the British Ceramics Biennial that invited KHiB to work in the closed Spode factory in Stoke-on-Trent as well as participation and the possibility to be a main artistic contribution in the forthcoming Biennial in 2013.

The focus of the project is on the landscape of post industry, explored through artistic research projects taking its point of departure in workshops/residencies in the closed Spode Factory site in Stoke-on-Trent. This site offers multi-faceted scope for creative interpretation through its socio-economic histories, industrial architecture, production and material remnants.

The first residency ‘Resurrecting the Obsolete’ in September 2012 with 33 invited interdisciplinary artists/participants accumulated individual artistic projects from which the project now is developing. The artistic strategies encompassed mapping the site through various media, object appropriation and re-contextualisation, lens-based work through to performative gesture. Through further periods of artistic research and development both on site and in the institutions, the distinct and interconnected strands of discourse identified below will form the core discourse of the project. These topics are considered more as questions and relevant starting-points of the discussion in terms of highlighting the project in established strands of theory and contemporary art contexts. The project will need to address the validity or actuality in the different approaches to establish/investigate if these familiar strands are relevant and have a potential for new understanding/knowledge.

  • The Socio-Economic Post Industrial Landscape as site
  • The Globalized Landscape of Ceramics
  • The Human Topography of Post-Industry
  • The Topography of Objects/Archives and the Artist/Archaeologist
  • The Topography of the Contemporary Ruin

The methodology of the overriding project is based on the rhetoric method of identifying ‘a landscape’ and different ‘topi’ ensuring a multi perspective approach. This possibility is suited for the multiplicity of the project and giving it a methodological rigour. This method will develop through discussion, friction and negotiating with the individual artistic methods and strategies used by the individual researcher/artist.

Topographies of the Obsolete Årsrapport 2013