Knowledge is Power: 6 Towns

Spode -China Hall

Keith Harrison has been commissioned by Stoke-on-Trent Libraries and Archives in association with BCB to create a major new work, Knowledge is Power.  Inspired by the special Six Towns Collection of local history books, Harrison will work with local industry, and over 200 school children and community groups from the area to make a complete set of replica clay books which will be heated daily to unpredictable effect using specifically manufactured electrical elements embedded in each volume and triggered by an interactive switching mechanism. The work will be housed in six adapted library shelving units and operated by an electronic meets electrical switching network. The firing schedules will be influenced by library lending figures and the colour scheme employed will be a combination of the electronic colour code and the Dewey library classification system.  A reading room, incorporating a pop-up library, will be situated in front of the work where audiences can become an active part of the piece through sampling of a selection from the Six Towns Collection, and directly influencing the firing sequence.  The project celebrates the changing role of Stoke-on-Trent Libraries as cultural agents, repositories of local knowledge and sources of inspiration, invention and pleasure. The resulting work will latterly be installed as a public art piece in the refurbished Stoke-on-Trent Central Library.