Temporary infrastructure for creative practices
What's On 10th Birthday Gallery

Testing Grounds

PAP’23 Information Pack (Example)

“We do not pronounce ahead of time what we think we need to know. After we do something we do not say others should do that thing. We try to learn how to learn, so we learn where we have to go by going. We evaluate and critique ourselves along the way, and together, and always, and all ways. We invite other artists and practitioners to think and do with us. We believe in risking vulnerability and practicing in the robust discomfort of uncertainty. A shared vulnerability is important. We believe in getting out of our comfort zone. We believe in an economy of effort. Of making an effort. In rejections that offer alternatives. We believe in thinking doing, in the active imagination as an agent in the world, in shaping and being shaped by the world, in causing the world to wobble differently depending on where we stand. We like the world to wobble differently.”

Slow Reader, A Resource for Design Thinking and Practice, Ana Paula Pais & Carolyn F. Strauss (eds.)

1. About Us

Testing Grounds
Located at Market Square in the Queen Victoria Market Precinct Testing Grounds is a creative infrastructure project providing spaces in public for creative practices across art, performance, design and education, and flexible spaces for works in development within Testing Grounds Emporium.

Programmed through a simple EOI process, Testing Grounds is a place where people at all stages of practice are welcome to test, develop and share their work, and the infrastructure can be used to present new work, run workshops or community activities, and host festivals or events.

These Are The Projects We Do Together (The Projects)
The Projects is an interdisciplinary team operating creative spaces and designing and delivering a wide range of creative projects, focusing on education and experimentation across all projects and sites. The Projects has been operating Testing Grounds since 2013. Others sites we operate include Siteworks and The Quarry.

Public Art Park Team
Testing Grounds is operated by a team skilled at managing loose and flexible spaces, driven by a core agenda of access and experimentation. Testing Grounds is collaborating with Ilana Russell and Lana Nguyen for Public Art Park ’23.

Ilana Russell – Lab Lead
Lana Nguyen – PAP Lead
Joseph Norster – Testing Grounds Co-Director
Millie Cattlin – Testing Grounds Co-Director
David Leslie – The Projects Comms & Admin

2. About Public Art Park

This year’s program includes a six-week lab (7 August — 22 September) culminating in a two-week public program during Melbourne Fringe Festival (7 — 22 October).

Public Art Park is a program of contextually-led ideas for public spaces across a range of mediums. The EOI intentionally focused on questions relating to interests and initial ideas about working in public space and within the Market Precinct, because we want to foster a place where ideas can be developed together, with plenty of time and in response to the environment.

Core motivations:

  • Foster cultures of place.
  • Advocate for public spaces that can support live experimental processes of learning.
  • Position creative practice as an essential element of a market precinct.
  • Present works in production as a viable alternative to art objects.
  • Celebrate that particular energy from works being in production and working in public.
  • Hold space for live processes, risk and experimentation.
  • Timely, generatively critical, and actively engaged with context.

The agenda for the program:

Civic; relating to and involving –

  • being of this time and place, and negotiating public spaces collectively; 
  • long-form discourse – conversations rather than declarations; and
  • awareness of agency and obligations.

Conceptual; relating to and involving – 

  • thoughts, beliefs and principles;
  • collaboration and generation of ideas; and
  • acts of learning and experimentation.

Collegial; relating to and involving – 

  • shared responsibility, warmth and generosity;
  • learning alongside each other through doing; and
  • fostering group culture and cultures of place.

Convivial; relating to and involving – 

  • being friendly and lively; and
  • being accessible and hospitable; and 
  • being thoughtful and engaged with the communities of the market.

3. Thematics

Observation
How do we position ourselves within this place?

  • How do we experience, navigate and communicate within a market ecology?
  • Where are the points (places and times) of overwhelm, where are the points of repose?
  • How do we orientate ourselves within this site?

Landscape & Ecologies
What are the material and immaterial features of this place?

  • What has been intentionally placed here, and what finds a way to exist?
  • What are the depths inherent in this site?
  • How do we understand and map the layers of this site

Time
How do we measure time on and through this site, considering not only its current market context, but what this place has been before (and before that, and before that, and before that)?

  • What are the rhythms and cycles of this place?
  • How is time held within this place?

Publics
What is a public?

  • How do we participate and contribute to the ecology of public and civic spaces?
  • What are the exchanges and dialogues generated by the public here?
  • What are the human and non-human relationships in this place?

Speculation
What can we imagine here?

  • What are the possible futures for this place, and how might we co-author these as a group and as a public?
  • Who will this space be for?

4. Cross Programming

Public Art Park and the Lab program will be intersecting with other programs at Testing Grounds throughout August-October.

RMIT Master of Art in Public Space (MAPS) students will join the lab program on Thursday, and will be developing and testing work within the PAP program. Thursday’s will be the day where everyone comes together at the site, and where dialogue is supported and encouraged.

Fringe Festival — Fringe Festival will be co-located at Testing Grounds between 5-22 October with two geodesic dome theatres (250 + 350 pax), a festival hub and a licensed area within the Precinct.

Overshare (Melbourne Emerging Screen Festival)  — In collaboration with Garden Reflexxx, Overshare is a 17-day screen based festival within Testing Grounds Emporium. There will be a single large screen in the outdoor area of Testing Grounds for the duration of Overshare, which is running at the same time as Fringe Festival and Public Art Park. As this program continues to develop, we will share information about it and if opportunities arise for cross-programming, we will encourage and support this.

Open EOI programming — Testing Grounds is always available through its program of open EOIs, which will continue to provide access to both sites for creative experimentation during Public Art Park. As projects come through the EOI we will look to make connections with Public Art Park and continue with our agenda of access to public space for creative experimentation.

Testing Grounds Open EOI programming currently includes the following:

  • Dan Koop – Market Research
  • Collective Polyphony / Gudskul Collective workshop
  • Collective Polyphony / Chinese Museum Artists Collective
  • Rhys Cousins – CTRL.

5. Lab Program Schedule

The Lab program will be focused on Thursdays with a core program between 11am-1pm, which includes curated conversations, workshops and lunch. Following lunch, there are opportunities for one-on-ones, tests and skill sharing until 5pm within the shared studio space and outside at Testing Grounds.

Week 1
10 August

Introductions
11am – 12pm: conversation/workshop
12pm – 1pm: Lunch

1pm – 3pm: One on ones/development time
3pm – 5pm: Tests and skill-sharing
Week 2
17 August

Observation
Jordan Lacey
11am – 12pm: conversation/workshop
12pm – 1pm: Lunch

1pm – 3pm: One-on-one/development time
3pm – 5pm: Tests and skill-sharing
Week 3
24 August

Landscapes & Ecologies
Alistair Kirkpatrick
11am – 12pm: conversation/workshop
12pm – 1pm: Lunch

1pm – 3pm: One-on-one/development time
3pm – 5pm: Tests and skill-sharing
31 August
Week 4
7 September

Time
Zena Cumpston
11am – 12pm: conversation/workshop
12pm – 1pm: Lunch

1pm – 3pm: One-on-one/development time
3pm – 5pm: Tests and skill-sharing
Week 5
14 September

Publics
Nikos Papastergiardis
11am – 12pm: conversation/workshop
12pm – 1pm: Lunch

1pm – 3pm: One-on-one/development time
3pm – 5pm: Tests and skill-sharing
Week 6
21 September

Speculation
Ana Tiqua
11am – 12pm: conversation/workshop
12pm – 1pm: Lunch

1pm – 3pm: One-on-one/development time
3pm – 5pm: Tests and skill-sharing

Curated conversation/workshop (11am – 12pm) — Invited guests speak with the group, take a tour or run a workshop responding to the thematic of each week.

Shared Lunch (12pm – 1pm) — Each week lunch will be bought from the Markets, prepared and shared.

One-on-one/development time (1pm – 3pm) — Conversations with the Public Art Park team providing support throughout the project development phase.

Tests and skill sharing (3pm – 5pm) — Opportunities to test at 1:1 in the outdoor areas or within the Emporium, focusing on material testing and AV tests. This is also a time when we can arrange for skill- sharing sessions between the group.

6. Public Art Park Schedule

Public Art Park: 7 October – 22 October
Installation period:
2 – 4 October

Opening Celebration: We are planning an opening celebration during the day on Saturday 7th October.

Flow of the program during Public Art Park: Public Art Park programming will be predominantly on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during this period.

Thursdays — Open installs and group lunch
Public install days including lunch and conversations on Thursdays. Interested in keeping the activity of the installation process open and in public.

Fridays — Teaching and Learning
Offer an opportunity to focus on education, school groups, workshops and walkthroughs.

Saturdays — Big market energy
Big market day so there is an idea to build upon this energy with demonstrations, showings, performances and events.

Sundays — Slower and closer with conversations with group discussions.
Busy market days, but often with a slightly slower pace so there is an option to program conversations and group discussions on Sundays.

Monday-Wednesday — Resting-state / experiments 
All other times are resting states, where remnants of works are left and held by the space and the structure. This time is optionally also an opportunity to come to site and continue testing work.

7. Facilities and Amenities

Shared Studio Space at Emporium

Testing Grounds Emporium is a loose and flexible warehouse space within the Queen Victoria Market precinct, across the road from Testing Grounds. It’s a three-level building, and the shared studio is on the top level, with views to Testing Grounds.

Shared space is available from 10th August through to 30th October. There is a large space within an open studio with three large tables set up for the Lab. Internet, power and lighting is all provided.

Tech and Other Loose Parts

Testing Grounds has a variety of technical gear available for use. This includes monitors, projectors, speakers, microphones and other bits and bobs available during the Lab.

In the spirit of The Whole Earth Catalog, other loose parts include plinths, tables, white boards, building materials, and books

8. Shared Readings

Readings

A Triptych of Glitchy Linguistic Bots Co-Write Building and Planning Regulations

1.64 MB — 
PDF
Uploaded by: LOREN ADAMSWhat might the world be like if regulations were co-written by (a glitchy AI-amalgam of) poets, storytellers, artists? My own work, accepted for publication, shared in the spirit of vulnerability.

Against Method

135.27 KB — 
PDF
Uploaded by: TESTING GROUNDS'Some of the major disasters of mankind have been produced by the narrowness of men with a good methodology.'

Applying Feminist Methodologies in the Sonic Arts

5.87 MB — 
PDF
Uploaded by: JESSICAHow a walk is experienced differently by different bodies.

Art As Occupation

1.33 MB — 
PDF
Uploaded by: TESTING GROUNDSClaims for an autonomy of life

Chaos, Territory, Art

2.01 MB — 
PDF
Uploaded by: TESTING GROUNDSDeleuze and the Framing of the Earth

Context is Half the Work

5.18 MB — 
PDF
Uploaded by: TESTING GROUNDSA partial history of the Artist Placement Group

Creative Alternatives

164.03 KB — 
PDF
Uploaded by: JACQUILooks at practices of political listening as forms of resistance to dominant narratives.

Decolonisation As Care

1.40 MB — 
PDF
Uploaded by: TESTING GROUNDSWhat happens to our praxis once we start from a place of acknowledging difference in our persons, our histories, our bodies, and our aesthetics?

Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor

1.89 MB — 
PDF
Uploaded by: TESTING GROUNDSThe goal of this article is to remind readers what is unsettling about decolonization.

Do

57.72 KB — 
PDF
Uploaded by: TESTING GROUNDSSol LeWitt’s Electrifying Letter of Advice on Self- Doubt, Overcoming Creative Block, and Being an Artist

Eavesdroping with permission

301.60 KB — 
PDF
Uploaded by: JACQUIThis reading looks at the vulnerability of listening and shifting who is vulnerable in conversations.

Ecological and Aesthetic Role of Spontaneous Flora in Urban Sustainable Landscape Development

894.97 KB — 
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Uploaded by: TESTING GROUNDSThe aim of this scientific paper is to promote sustainable methods with beneficial effects on the environment, with aesthetic effect on urban and rural landscapes.

For Still Possible Cities

1.00 MB — 
PDF
Uploaded by: LOREN ADAMS"We have lost. Now what?" Natalie Osborne's iconic politics of failure for the politically depressed.

Insurgent Public Space

11.05 MB — 
PDF
Uploaded by: TESTING GROUNDSGuerrilla urbanism and the remaking of contemporary cities

Making the Social Hold

1.70 MB — 
PDF
Uploaded by: TESTING GROUNDSTowards an Actor-Network Theory of Design

Models Are Real

45.62 KB — 
PDF
Uploaded by: TESTING GROUNDSIn order to understand, inhabit, and evaluate space it is crucial to recognize its temporal aspect. Space does not simply exist in time; it is of time.

Multiple Authorship

130.01 KB — 
PDF
Uploaded by: TESTING GROUNDSMaybe there is no death as we know it. Just documents changing hands.

Postproduction

296.53 KB — 
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Uploaded by: TESTING GROUNDSNicolas Bourriaud. Culture as screenplay: How art reprograms the world

Processes of Decolonisation

4.06 MB — 
PDF
Uploaded by: KRISTY-LEEPoka has been credited as the father of the modern Hawaiian Sovereignty movement. This article will hopefully provide insight into decolonisation beyond metaphor & into praxis.

Radical Pedagogy

154.95 KB — 
PDF
Uploaded by: TESTING GROUNDSThe purpose of this conversation is to examine some of the incongruence between what I teach and believe and my own pedagogical practice.

Sonic Agency – Ch 1 – Unlikely Publics

222.43 KB — 
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Uploaded by: JACQUIAbout sound and publics and the politics of listening.

The Education of the Un-Artist

1.33 MB — 
PDF

Theory of Loose Parts

1.37 MB — 
PDF
Uploaded by: MILLIE CATTLINa great article about a theory of loose parts, which was devised as an approach for designing kids playgrounds but is super interesting and relevant to public space more generally

Wages Against Housework

418.96 KB — 
PDF
Uploaded by: TESTING GROUNDSThey say it is love. We say it is unwaged work. They call it frigidity. We call it absenteeism. Every miscarriage is a work accident.

Share a Reading

What’s it called?
Drop files here or
Accepted file types: pdf, doc, jpg, jpeg, gif, png, Max. file size: 256 MB, Max. files: 1.
    A short description, and let us know why you are sharing it.

    9. Site Maps & Plans

    10. Local History & Market Research

    Research

    Batman Memorial

    156.54 KB — 
    JPEG
    Uploaded by: TESTING GROUNDSAn early photograph of the batman memorial which sits next to the Testing Grounds site.

    Biennial Lab: QVM Site Research

    226.73 KB — 
    PDF
    Uploaded by: TESTING GROUNDSA research document about the history of the Queen Victoria Markets by Aneta Trajkoski. Has an extensive reference section for further reading.

    The Batman Memorial Unveiling

    836.39 KB — 
    PDF
    Uploaded by: TESTING GROUNDSA cutting from the Argus newspaper from 1882

    Share Some Research

    What’s it called?
    Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: pdf, doc, jpg, jpeg, gif, png, Max. file size: 256 MB, Max. files: 1.
      A short description, and let us know why you are sharing it.

      11. Testing Grounds Induction

      The following documents contain a wealth of information about the two Testing Grounds sites and are the same as the documents we provide to artists coming through our regular EOI stream.

      Market Square Site Induction PackEmporium Site Induction Pack

      12. Project Agreement

      Please review the Terms and Conditions and fill out the Project Agreement form 

      What we are providing

      • $1000 participant fee with superannuation, PLI and workcover.
      • In-kind use of Testing Grounds site and infrastructure for testing ideas and outcomes in public.
      • Shared collaborative space available 24/7 in Testing Grounds Emporium, within the Market Precinct.
      • Technical support and access to tools and AV equipment (projectors, monitors and PAs).
      • Support and mentorship from the cohort and PAP curatorial team throughout the development period.
      • Tailored six-week lab program, designed to enable rigorous engagement with the Market Precinct. This will include:
        • Immersion into market ecologies, through conversations with stallholders, staff, market publics and environment.
        • Talks program delivered by guest speakers, including from architecture, design, food, and spatial practice disciplines.
        • Preparation and sharing of weekly lunches, sourced from the market.
        • 1:1 producing support.

      What we would like in return

      • Utilise and benefit from the space, equipment and support provided.
      • Actively participate in the lab by engaging with the program of talks and workshops on Thursday mornings and shared lunches.
      • Engage with, assist in forming, and contribute to the culture of the group.
      • Be willing to collaborate beyond your personal practice while sharing what you know.
      • Share your practice and your ideas during the development phase in group workshops.
      • Develop a work for public showing, sharing or testing during Public Art Park.
      • At the conclusion of the Public Art Park, be available to de-install your work.

      Project Agreement Terms & Conditions

      13. Invoicing

      To receive your participation fee, please submit an invoice. You can submit your invoice whenever you would like, we are happy to process them before, after or during the lab process.

      All invoices must be submitted through the invoicing portal below on The Projects website:

      Submit an invoice

      14. Media & Comms Pack

      Click the button below to link to a PAP’23 comms pack. The pack includes logos, Instagram tiles and an Instagram reel and will be updated as we get closer to Public Art Park.

      Download Comms Pack

      15. Questions We Thought You Might Ask

      What if it rains?
      Rain is a delightful occurrence that we negotiate regularly, and have plenty of options to capture it, or cover ourselves from it. Walking and talking sessions will generally happen irrespective of rain so it would be great to be prepared for anything and bring an umbrella or rain jacket. But if it gets too intense, we can always come inside and continue our sessions at the Emporium.

      How will lunch work?
      Lunch will be prepared and shared collectively with the group, with everyone involved in the process. All meals  will be vegetarian with gluten free options included. Food will be bought from the Markets each morning and then washed, sliced, diced and laid out for communal eating. We are very excited about this!

      Can I leave valuables at Emporium?
      We have never had any issues with theft, and we feel comfortable having valuables in this building, particularly on the top floor, but we are unfortunately not insured against theft, so ask that everyone take responsibility for their own belongings. It’s important to keep the front door closed and keep the lockbox scrambled.

      Who can I talk to if I have more questions? 
      Us! The Testing Grounds team are based at the Emporium site every weekday and are always happy to chat in person if you wanted to drop by with a question, or to work on/from the site on days other than Thursday. 

      Generally, if your questions are:
      Testing Grounds / production / equipment / site based – talk to Joe and Millie

      PAP and lab based:
      Talk to Ilana and Lana

      Will there be someone around to help me install my work?
      The PAP project team will be on-site from the 2 – 4 October during the day (and some evenings if needed) to help out with install, or anything else you might need to get your work in the space. 

      What if my ideas have changed since I submitted the EOI?
      That’s great, we’re always open to change. We anticipate that most people’s ideas will evolve and shift during the lab program, and we encourage you to chat to us about your project during the Thursday 1:1 sessions if you need a sounding board. 

      What happens after Public Art Park?
      We’ll figure this out together. 

      We hope that collaborations and friendships form through this time that continue in unexpected ways and Testing Grounds would be delighted to host and support future projects following Public Art Park.

      How is Public Art Park funded?
      Testing Grounds at Queen Victoria Market is supported through Covid Recovery funding from the City of Melbourne. Specific funds through this stream have been allocated to the 2022 and 2023 Public Art Park programs.

      How is Public Art Park funded?
      Testing Grounds at Queen Victoria Market is supported through Covid Recovery funding from the City of Melbourne. Specific funds through this stream have been allocated to the 2022 and 2023 Public Art Park programs.

      Can the Testing Grounds infrastructure be used for installations?

      Yes! All the Public Art Park projects will be situated at the Testing Grounds site, and we encourage you to make full use of the infrastructure there, including the hanging systems, speakers, shipping containers, screens and any other ways you can think of to intervene with the site. 

      We know that some works will venture into the Market Hub, which we’re really excited about, but we’ll use TG as the home base for these works to begin or end at. 

      The PAP project team can help to test hanging, broadcasting, screening, cooking, or anything else you might need our support with onsite. 

      What spaces are available for PAP artists to use in the lead up to and during PAP?

      The whole of Emporium is available for you to use during the lab program, and in the lead-up to PAP.

      The Testing Grounds team (Joe, Millie and Dave) are on site every weekday from 9am – 5pm, and you can access the space after hours via lockbox; please reach out directly to be taken through the access process.

      Ask a Question