Somehow, Carrie Reichardt’s “Mad in Stoke” getting nixed after its opening night is the raviest fate we can imagine for such an installation.
On September 23rd, an installation called “Mad in Trent” dedicated to UK city Stoke on Trent‘s place in rave history made its debut at the British Ceramics Biennial (BCB). Thanks to noise complaints from nearby residents, it can no longer operate as planned, however.
The brainchild of ceramics artist Carrie Reichardt, “Mad in Trent” consisted of a 1969 Ford Zephyr covered in a mosaic whose pieces included iconic acid house smiley faces and depictions of Mitsubishi ecstasy pills. These wink-and-nod references weren’t what drew outcry from locals, though. According to StokeonTrentLive, it also played music as well interviews with seminal rave figures like Mark Archer, Lee Fredericks, Pete Bromley, and Fatboy Slim.
Reichardt’s collaborator — who handled the installation’s lighting, audio, and video — wrote in an Instagram post that “Mad in Trent” was “shut down.” They attributed this to its “banging tunes,” pointing out that the incident made it even more like “a rave back in the day.”
This wasn’t the end for “Mad in Trent,” though. “After feedback from someone who lives nearby, we are taking measures to ensure people get the full rave experience of Carrie’s work – Mad in Stoke – via headphones but without disturbing the neighbours,” said BCB Artistic Director Clare Wood. “We welcome everyone to come and enjoy the Shelley’s nightclub-inspired installation and the rest of the biennial over the next five and a half weeks.”
While acid house originated in Chicago thanks to artists like DJ Pierre and the late DJ Spank-Spank, it arguably gained its most dedicated following in late ’80s England. Combined with the disenfranchisement of Thatcherite politics and the introduction of ecstasy, it led to an explosion of free parties and warehouse gatherings that laid the foundation for what would come to be known as rave.
The BCB will run until November 5. “Mad in Trent” will be available the rest of that time — albeit slightly modified.