The[OCCUPIED]event again, this time I have included images from the Spode Factory.
The Spode brand was and is synonymous with the pottery industry. It is especially renowned for its under-glaze blue transfer printing. We also learned about the prominence the building had when the pottery industry was booming in England.
We visited the factory prior to the event and it was like a ghost town. The factory occupies 10 acres of land and most of that includes deserted buildings that have had their power cut off, which is such a shame. We were shown a photograph of the factory from the 1920’s, when it had dozens of working kilns. We were also told that about 2 weeks previous to our arrival, the last kiln collapsed. This building was so rich in history, yet it was abandoned.
We were told the ‘China Halls’ were available to us for our exhibition, one of 2 buildings with power. I could not have been more excited when I saw the venue, it was vast and we were told we were not permitted to make changes to the foundations of the building, such as painting the walls or the floor. This was brilliant as I wanted to respond to the building as it was; empty. I was in awe and wanted to move in on the very same day to explore and experiment. I believed I needed at least 3 weeks leading up to the opening to realise an ambitious idea. The factory had other plans. At another part of the factory, part of the building had collapsed and access to the building and roads surrounding the building had been closed for several weeks. Panic came over many in the group. I used the time to think about what exactly I could propose for the space.
I knew I had a very strong reaction to the area that housed six large pillars close to the public entrance to the building. This was because the space had the foundations of the building exposed and this is what I wanted to focus on. With the parts of the factory practically crumbling, I thought about what measures were in place to preserve the history of the city. I did not find any. With the factory occupying such a large amount of space with buildings that would be fully functional if the City Council had not cut the power supply to them, I wanted to keep the significance in history in mind and respond to the future of the factory as a whole.
I decided to use industry standard builder’s thread as it is used when laying the foundations of many things such as floors and walls. It is usually attached to a point and stretched across to another tightly to form a straight line. I wanted to create something with geometry and something very architectural to tap into the potential of the building. I attached the string to the pillars at points where they had been interacted with, points with existing nails and hooks to play on the specificity of the site. The images I have included show the result, however, being in the presence of the space was an experience a camera could not capture.