The Test Bed

On Monday and Tuesday of this week I had the opportunity to run a little experiment at the test bed, before I tell you about my experiment I firstly want to tell you about ‘The Testbed’ it’s made up of two shipping containers of which resident artist David Boultbee (of Bred arts) is creating a conversation around the future of the space in which the containers are situated.

What lies ahead for the future is a 57 million pound project, in which the surrounding area will undergo a transformation, instead of a place people pass through to get from one place to another, the space may become where people stop and interact, a space for performance, a space for events, a place for communities to connect.

For my two days at the test bed, I decided that I would create a ‘live exhibition’, in which the people passing the space would become part of the exhibition, I would invite members of the public into my pop up studio, make their portrait while seeking their opinions on the future of the space. Then I would print off the portrait, place it inside the container slowly transforming the space from an empty container to studio to finally becoming a gallery, However with this being the test bed the experiment didn’t exactly go to plan, firstly nobody seemed curious enough to just walk into the test bed and ask what was going on, secondly the natural path in which people took meant that footfall didn’t walk straight past the space but instead made their way to the pedestrian crossing

On day one I decided to engage with potential passers-by, by asking if they would like there portrait taking? No… “sorry I’ve not done my makeup or just a polite “no thanks” seemed to be the general consensus. with my studio unused the space was looking like… an empty space once more!

Being 2018 age of the Selfie, it seems the general public is more interested in just taking their own selfies rather than having a portrait being made as part of an experiment, I mean who can blame them, sitting in front of a camera is a difficult thing to do, sounds so simple, but admittedly I also feel the unease of sitting in front of this unforgiving piece of brilliant engineering.

Never deterred, I decided to create a poster to place onto an A board placing it just to the side of the pedestrian crossing in hope that it would spark curiosity in some members of the public, it also wasn’t a success!  what did work was a social media post, a few friends did decide to come a take part in my experiment and became part of a very small  live exhibition so thanks to them I have some results to show you



I would Like to thank Ben (The Birley)  David Boultbee (Bred arts)  David Kenton (Thecartridgeguys) and all that came along to have your portrait made


Photographer from the north west of England

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