Testing Grounds

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Testing Grounds

Upcoming Calendar
Testing Grounds

0026

Dewey Disengagement System

Stéphanie Kabanyana Kanyandekwe

Residency

10.02.17 - 24.02.17

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Stéphanie Kabanyana Kanyandekwe
0026
10.02.17 - 24.02.17

Rwandan-British composer and artist Stéphanie Kabanyana Kanyandekwe was Reader-in-Residence during Torika Bolatagici’s Community Reading Room project. During her time at Testing Grounds, Stéphanie presented a performative presentation of her work-in-progress: ‘Dewey Disengagement System’. Through live music and an interview with her career-librarian father, Stéphanie highlighted some of the faults underpinning the Dewey Decimal System of categorising information for libraries and catalogues. Drawing on graphic score translations created from narratives found within the Community Reading Room and Stéphanie’s personal collection, the presentation outlined the religious and colonial framework within which Dewey worked, and considered alternative systems in the current Information Age.

0028

Nothing to Do with a Plant

Thomas Woodman

Residency

16.02.17 - 03.05.17

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Thomas Woodman
0028
16.02.17 - 03.05.17

Over a number of months, Thomas Woodman worked intermittently in and around the range of spaces at Testing Grounds. These choreographic and dance practices involved: travelling with a plant, retracing its history, moving with and independently of it (in and out of sync), recovering and reinterpreting movement histories, replanting, having lunch, listening, reading, using touch to sensitise and desensitise the body to the space, adjusting anthropocentric hierarchies and their power structures, humming away, interviewing, observing and questioning plant interests, desires, feelings and thoughts.

Throughout this study, ideas of quick release and rapid consumption coincide with meandering thoughts and the act of slowing down and killing time. A text message is sent as a snail ambles towards something on a warm day. Woodman engages in a multi-sensory noticing of the plant to propose and inform alternative futures. How can the human experience be dictated by the plant? Does this diminish the anthropocentric bias?  Where is the human in the plant and the plant in the human? 

The knowledge generated by this research is inherently precarious and unstable.

Research was also conducted at the Temperance Hall, South Melbourne with space provided by Phillip Adam’s BalletLab.

dance ][ research project ][ residency ][ white box ]

0022

Introduction to Projection Art

Gertrude Street Projection Festival

Masterclass

22.02.17 - 25.02.17

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Gertrude Street Projection Festival
0022
22.02.17 - 25.02.17

Lead by accomplished projection artist Yandell Walton, a group of emerging artists were selected to develop skills and knowledge about projection art over a 4 day workshop. Taking over the grounds, they learned about the artform of projection, developed technical skills and projection mapping techniques, and learned about project development. Each participant developed a proposal for a site specific artwork that will be considered for exhibition in the 2017 GSPF program, with 3 selected for continued guidance as part of the Gertrude Street Projection Festival (GSPF) Mentorship Program. The masterclass provided these emerging artists with a framework to develop new projects and to create opportunities for growth in their practices.

0026

Black Birds present: Th(i)rd C(u)lture

Black Birds

Performance

24.02.17 - 24.02.17

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Black Birds
0026
24.02.17 - 24.02.17

Th(i)rd C(u)lture was a new performance work by Sydney-based all-female theatre group Black Birds, developed especially for the closing event of Community Reading Room. Directed by Emele Ugavule and starring Ayeesha Ash & Angela Sullen, the 45 minute performance explored the struggles of being mixed race in a country that you don’t belong to through movement, spoken word & music. The show told the story of the performers and their journeys as young girls both born outside of Australia (Grenada & the United States of America), their struggle through teen-hood to find community and likeness around them growing into young adults.

This free event attracted over 60 viewers, spilling out onto the grounds on a balmy February evening.

music ][ performance ][ spoken word ][ white box ]

0019

Urban Landscapes

RMIT- Art in Public Space

Workshop

01.03.17 - 03.03.17

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RMIT- Art in Public Space
0019
01.03.17 - 03.03.17

An intensive workshop designed to inspire new students coming into the Master of Arts – Art in Public Space program, Urban Landscapes gave candidates a hands-on experience in their first week of study. Students explored the condition of the laneway surrounding RMIT Building 50; its relationship to other laneways on campus; and along the journey between RMIT and Testing Grounds with a quick response proposition delivered at the end of the workshop. Students also heard from guest artists leading a workshop at Testing Grounds every afternoon, including drawing without a pencil and listening to the superstructure.

education ][ grounds ][ open box ][ public art ]

0046

Contingency

Andrew Rewald

Residency

01.03.17 - 23.03.17

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Andrew Rewald
0046
01.03.17 - 23.03.17

During his three week residency in the Clear Box at Testing Grounds, Andrew Rewald filled the space with edible weeds growing from upcycled plastic food containers, arranged in intersecting circles and crossed lines symbolic of the processes of food production, preparation, and consumption. Through the edible weed installation and Andrew’s research materials – pinned images and piles of books on food, agriculture, urbanisation, and art – Contingency considered the nexus between the urban ecology and food security in context with sustainable agriculture practices.

On Thursday March 23, to mark the end of the residency and share his research and creative process, Andrew hosted an edible weed tasting. Featuring dishes like tempura dandelion and foraged weed pesto, the act of sharing food grown in the Clear Box acted as a powerful metaphor for the possibility of redefining our relationship to food consumption, industrial production and transportation processes, and food security. 

The work done in this residency extends from his previous work investigating diet as a marker of identity in diverse urban and rural contexts. Andrew is motivated by the impact of consumer culture behaviour and the globalisation of food industries on our understanding of what it means to have access to food. From corporate food production practices to foraging for edible weeds his work continues to investigate indicators of social disorder and dis-empowerment – but also empowerment – for individuals and communities alike.

0044

Where the Breath is Kept

Laura Lethlean

Development Work

01.03.17 - 19.03.17

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Laura Lethlean
0044
01.03.17 - 19.03.17

Playwright Laura Lethlean took up residence in the Black Box for three weeks in March 2017 to work on her play Where the Breath is Kept. During the residency, Laura used the space as a research facility to explore the impact that space and confinement can have on process, form and content in writing. Part set-design-trial, part giant pin-board, part writers den, elements of the space were designed to echo a solitary confinement cell – the setting of the play. Laura also invited visitors to contribute to her process through anonymous feedback boxes. At the end of the three week residency, a four-actor reading of her new draft took place in the space.

black box ][ development work ][ theatre ][ writing ]

0037

Indeterminate States

Skye Kelly

Exhibition

03.03.17 - 18.03.17

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Skye Kelly
0037
03.03.17 - 18.03.17

Sculptures and installations that change in volume and colour and smell over time, consisting of suspended plastic bladders, liquid gelatin, cascading bubbles and other transitive materials.

The exhibition focused on a certain class of materials to create a space that blurs the line between abject and beauty as the artworks examine the mutable boundaries created by material indeterminacy within objects and their spaces of display. On opening night bubbles cascaded down the bladder to fall on the ground, slowly setting into a fixed state.

Skye Kelly is an artist living and working in Melbourne.  She is currently undertaking a Masters of Fine Art (Research) at RMIT.  Her work investigates a range of indeterminate, transitive materials through a sculptural framework.  Recent materials utilised include gelatine, fat, toffee and hydrophobic sand.  She is interested in exploring the latent potentials of these unstable materials, and how their inherent properties and behaviours can be used as a catalyst for sculptural outcomes.

0009

Size Doesn’t Matter

Size Doesn't Matter

Arts Event

10.03.17

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Size Doesn't Matter
0009
10.03.17

Initiated as an unofficial fringe festival to Dance Massive (a biannual festival for contemporary dance) this project was developed as an alternative platform for performance, choreography and dance in Melbourne. It questioned the methods for the presentation of contemporary dance and facilitated a dynamic, malleable and inclusive structure. A diverse range of artists proposed performances, practices and discourse through proposals that were formatted through a ‘live feed’ for the 6 hour duration. The facilitators of this open event were interested in creating a durational space and ecology of happenings, but didn’t program ‘events’ in a strict sense.

choreography ][ dance ][ fringe ][ grounds ]

0073

Speak Up

Testing Grounds x Parlour

Exhibition

17.03.17 - 25.03.17

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Testing Grounds x Parlour
0073
17.03.17 - 25.03.17

For Melbourne Design Week 2017, Testing Grounds joined forces with Parlour to produce an outdoor exhibition of large-format activist-inspired typography.

Testing Grounds invited Erin Callaghan, a young Melbourne-based multi-disciplinary designer, to develop Speak Up. The project was part of Testing Grounds’ commitment to foregrounding emerging and experimental creative practice, and Parlour’s advocacy and activism around gender equity in architecture.

Utilising the multi-functional outdoor grid system and hanging frames at Testing Grounds, Erin – with collaborators Millie Cattlin and Warren Taylor – designed a typographic project using content sourced from Parlour’s guest-hosted Instagram account.

architecture ][ design ][ exhibition ][ grounds ]

0067

Concept Generation

Ben Landau

Workshop

23.03.17

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Ben Landau
0067
23.03.17

An extension of Ben Landau’s previous work critiquing the innovation culture of contemporary design industries and the corporate world, Concept Generation was an interactive workshop where ideas were exchanged for beer and peanuts. Playing up slogans like “Fail fast!” and “Love what you do!”, Concept generation created an artificial pressure cooker for tackling nonsense problems, the solutions of which were traded for a beer before starting again.

Presented as part of Melbourne Design Week 2017.

0061

Sound, Site, Dance

Footscray Community Arts Centre

Residency

23.03.17 - 07.04.17

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Footscray Community Arts Centre
0061
23.03.17 - 07.04.17

The Amplified Elephants and Footscray Community Arts Centre Artlife performers took over Testing Grounds for a three week residency, culminating in an original performance of sound art and dance. The site responsive work was inspired by the hyper-urban space of Testing Grounds and explored themes of identity politics, belonging, and improvisation, using the site of Testing Grounds as an instrument.

This residency marked the beginning of a research phase for the ensemble as they developed new work for touring in 2017. More info, reflections, and photos are available in Footscray Community Arts Centre’s write-up on their residency here: http://footscrayarts.com/news/elephants-amplified/

0008

Adult

Jamieson Pearce

Film Screening

23.03.17 - 25.03.17

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Jamieson Pearce
0008
23.03.17 - 25.03.17

Jamieson Pearce’s short film Adult screened at Testing Grounds as part of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival from Thursday 23 to Saturday 25 March. More than a film, Pearce created an immersive installation in the Black Box, juxtaposing a porn shop with a domestic living room. The installation framed the story of motherhood, sexuality and grief, based on the short story ‘Porn 1’ by Christos Tsiolkas.

black box ][ film ][ installation ][ queer ]

0035

Parlour Autumn Salon

Parlour

Talk

24.03.17

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Parlour
0035
24.03.17

The Parlour Autumn Salon ran as part of Melbourne Design Week 2017, featuring eminent Melbourne architects Shelley Penn and Amy Muir in conversation. 150 architect practitioners and enthusiasts were also treated to a glass of wine and sausage sizzle, giving an opportunity for networking, swapping stories and strategies, forming new networks and reviving older ones.

Kicking off at 6:30 with an introduction to Testing Grounds from director/designer Millie Catlin, and a welcome from event organiser Justine Clarke, the highlight of the night was Amy Muir and Shelley Penn conversing about shared interests, career stories, and advice gleaned from hard years of practice. A large contingent stayed until closing at 10pm.

architecture ][ education ][ feminism ][ open box ]

0016

Spiritual Botox & The New Wage

Jule Small & Ceri Hann

Performance

05.04.17 - 08.04.17

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Jule Small & Ceri Hann
0016
05.04.17 - 08.04.17

Jule Small and Ceri Hann took on the Melbourne International Comedy Festival itself, critiquing the institutionalisation of both comedy and art.

The copy for the show said it all (in a way)…

An open forum chat show that explores relations between the art world, capitalism, implications of progress and the ideas that give rise to comedy.

Where does personality end & brain damage begin?

A self-help chat show.

I wouldn’t piss on Pauline Hanson if she was on fire.

An imagination prolapse.

Ads shit on your brain.

A multiverse of lies.

More skin toner for Didi the chihuahua.

Has anyone seen my Chewbacca bong, the one that sounds like him as you inhale?

Stop scrolling & deal with your feelings.

Missing Perth man found playing bongos in Thailand…

0024

Paintings

Kitty Norster

Exhibition

07.04.17 - 22.04.17

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Kitty Norster
0024
07.04.17 - 22.04.17

‘Paintings’ was an installation of 300 small, lattice-grid pattern paintings (Liquitex on canvas) by Melbourne artist Kitty Norster.
The exhibition was Norster’s most recent work from a series that began in 1999 and the artist’s second solo show at Testing Grounds.

0060

The Australian Youth Dance Festival 2017 Opening Ceremony

Ausdance Victoria

Festival

14.04.17

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Ausdance Victoria
0060
14.04.17

On 14 April 2017 Testing Grounds hosted over 150 young dancers from across Australia for the opening ceremony of the 2017 Australian Youth Dance Festival. Under the artistic direction of Adam Wheeler, the festival provided new opportunities to young people to access some of the finest dance experiences available in Australia. The opening ceremony included performances, a Welcome to Country, a BBQ, and a flash choreography session in the middle of the Grounds, kicking off a festival that brought together young dancers nationwide to share and learn together, forge strong relationships between young dancers, and meet their future colleagues.

black box ][ clear box ][ dance ][ festival ]

0015

The Hunt Creative Development

The Hunt

Work in development

21.04.17 - 05.05.17

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The Hunt
0015
21.04.17 - 05.05.17

Over two weeks, multi-disciplinary artist group The Hunt took over the Black and White boxes at Testing Grounds to develop a new work, culminating in a one-night showing of performance and installation. The group (Bridget Mackay, Grace-Purton Long and Christopher Gray) worked with curator Arie Rain-Glorie as an out-side-eye to extend on their previous work using sound, performance and imagery to create haunting and visually arresting performance vignettes. For this development, they set a self-imposed challenge of only using easily sourced domestic materials on an ultra-low budget. The resulting work featured an installation of grass collected from the grounds, lighting, and video footage of rehearsals set up in the White Box, a 15 minute staged performance in the Black Box, and a 10 minute performance throughout the grounds – drew on horror genres in film, fashion and literature to transport the audience into an unsettling fever-dream headspace.

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