For three months, Public Assembly’s Lynda Roberts occupied our site with Daisy the van, developing the the basis of her PhD research around working in the public, with the public.
Along with fulfilling the basic functions of a vehicle and a space for some shelter (an incredibly required thing during a harsh Melbourne winter) Daisy became a space with an interchangeable, malleable program, within the ever-changing daily program of Testing Grounds.
Van as... Workspace
Using Daisy as an office, Lynda occupied the back of the van on a daily basis to write, think and strategise for her PhD research.
Van as... Parasite
Daisy (and Lynda) acted as their own independent spatial entity, forming a parasitic relationship with the infrastructure of Testing Grounds – using our toilets, water, kettle, microwave, fridge, electricity and light – shifting around to make way for the ebbs and flows of whatever else might be happening here any given time.
Van as... Art
Daisy evolved over the time her and Lynda spent here, shifting from a rusty ice cream van into a decorated, engaging object – visually expressing the ideas that were developed inside her shell.
1|2 Daisy Transforms — Before
2|2 Daisy Transforms — After - Image by Bryony Jackson
Van as... Public Space
Within the context of the unique public space of Testing Grounds, Daisy herself became an extension of this space, where passers by felt comfortable entering and occupying the van.
Van as... Meeting Place
As well as using Daisy as a desk and workspace, Lynda held a myriad of meetings within the space, inviting contributors to her PhD from all across Melbourne and internationally.
Van as... Rehearsal Space
As part of Lynda’s PhD she developed presentations, conversational tools, and tours – using Daisy as a performance and rehearsal space for audiences and critics.
Van as... Symposium Podium
Daisy acted as a backdrop and catalyst for Lynda during her Jaffle Symposium presentation in July 2018, a four part series which talked about civic agency, while eating jaffles around a fire.
1|4 Jaffle Symposium — Daisy as backdrop
2|4 Jaffle Symposium — Daisy as podium
3|4 Jaffle Symposium — Discussion
4|4 Jaffle Symposium — Jaffles
Van as... Relaxation Space
Trent, Arie, Molly & Nicole spent a lot of time inside Daisy with Lynda (sometimes without) over the course of them being here, as a place to stop, have a break and take some time away from the grind of Testing Grounds work demands. It became a little safe pod to view (and sometimes hide from) the outside world.
Van as... Symbiotic Entity
In providing a space for Testing Grounds staff to tap out, Daisy and Lynda became more than an independent parasite to our infrastructure. The program of Daisy compliments that of Testing Grounds, providing more opportunities for disciplines to intersect, more regular inhabitants of the space, and most importantly, increased human connections.
Van as... Returning Space
After her time here, Lynda took Daisy out to the urban realm of Melbourne to continue her research.
Over the following months, they have returned on a number of occasions, slotting Daisy’s independent program into the framework of Testing Grounds with a natural ease. Daisy becomes a meeting place, a decorated object, a vehicle, or a stage, becoming an extension of Testing Grounds, and visa versa.
Van as... Mutualistic Entity
Lynda’s PhD culminates with a final exhibition in the Clear Box in May, where the contents of ideas, conversations, writings, and actions from within Daisy’s being are expanded. The independent program of Daisy becomes integrated into the architecture of Testing Grounds, and the two become one.
A van, a mobile space, can embody the dynamic value of Testing Grounds, within the shifting and uncertain urban climate of Melbourne.