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backApertures & Architectures: the pOrtal and the g_pe[1]

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There is an open gate. Its aperture, red and proud, momentarily yawns and grants entry to ten acres of derelict buildings and land that make up the former Spode ceramics factory in Stoke-on-Trent. Doors_thresholds_abound, some open, others locked, with keyholes being the only view until Alan arrives with keys and knowledge.[2] Lichen colonized windows allow hindered two-way scenes, crumbling roofs permit the elements to pass through, and forgotten chimneys in the attic deliver dead birds in a ritual passing from one status to another. The portal is the invitation to work within the skeletal space, a rib cage mostly void of organs of machinery and the once countless hands to tease their output. The gape is the open, anatomous site evidencing a past critical point, a brutal and immediate wound created by the rapid disconnect between industrial heritage in the potteries and its almost instantaneous relocation into post-industrial reality. Reminiscent of a medical écorché, the numerous buildings display areas of flayed roofs and walls revealing the textures of interiority. Like unreliable archaeologists and fledgling surgeons, the artists enter this fissure, a site of loss, and probe that which remains.[3] their pleasure is indecent. In his reflection on culture in The Pleasure of the Text, Roland Barthes states, ‘What pleasure wants is the site of loss, the seam, the cut, the deflation, the dissolve which seizes the subject in the midst of bliss. Culture thus recurs as an edge: into no matter what form.’[4] Part scavenger, part opportunistic predator and part grave robber, the artists search for morsels and scraps, fragments 2/5 of 5/8 artefacts, shattered stories, resonating and striking chords on intuitive and informed levels. Ideas begin to form and new mythologies start to shape. The artists are contagion as much as any pigeon shit and lurking asbestos to be found, but they are also the draught of longed-for air the yawn seeks in its opening up.[5] //Pause for an opening// …[https://issuu.com/khib/docs/site_reflections]