As part of his residency at the V&A, Matt Smith visited the Spode factory site in Stoke-on-Trent. Acquired by Josiah Spode in 1776, ceramics were produced there until the factory closed in 2008 but the plaster moulds used by the factory still remain on site. Smith took casts from 31 of the moulds and assembled them into new forms. Hearing each cast as a note being sung by the formerly silent moulds meant that when brought together, the new works created a ‘soundscape’, a visual melody singing to the current state of the factory. A collaboration with composer Dimitrios Skyllas has resulted in an aural composition based on this new work. The new work has a bitter sweet quality – both celebrating the skilled work of the potteries, but also mourning the loss of jobs and skills.
Matt Smith’s work was displayed at the V&A during London Design Festival on 17-25 September 2016 and the world premiere of this new aural piece for the closed factory had been performed live by the composer on Friday 23 September 2016 at 8:30 pm in the V&A’s Globe space.
Supported by Maurice and Rosemary Lambert and using public funding by Arts Council England.
Matt Smith was the V&A Ceramics resident from October 2015 – March 2016.