Test Bed

Test Bed is an art exhibition based around Five Ways.

Test Bed involves eight artists making new work specific to people and place. The location and community of Five Ways Shopping Centre, Birmingham, will inform the creation of the work. Harry Palmer, George Saxon, Darryl Georgiou, Pauline Bailey, Julie M ONeill, Sandra Hall, Nelson Douglas and Mark Storor – are to make new work in response to the community they will be based in.

Test Bed will showcase challenging and diverse new work by artists with national and international reputations for socially engaging and edgy work of the highest quality. The work will result from collaborations with the community who live and work in the location, finding a voice for their issues and concerns and reflecting those concerns back and outward to the wider world.

The Five Ways community, depending on your viewpoint, is either a gateway to the glittering lights of the ever-changing cityscape and 24-hour hedonistic delights provided by Broad Street, or a lasting reminder of the concrete collar that has strangled the centre of Birmingham since the 1960s. One thing is certain. It is a paradox. One of the most socially and economically deprived wards in Birmingham, Five Ways also provides office and apartment space for the new affluent section of Birmingham society that likes to work and party hard and spends a lot of money doing both.

The eight artists are informed by communities, sites and locations, but they are not ‘community artists’. Instead of working for a gallery environment and audience they will showcase and exhibit Test Bed where it was made and in front of those communities.

The event launches on Thursday 19th April 2007 and continues until Saturday 28th April at the Curio City Shop, 11 Auchinleck Square, Five Ways, Birmingham, B15 1EW.

There’s also a blog by Lee Grifffiths, organizer of the show, which documents the project. See this post for a longer introduction to the project along with more details about the artists.