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Test Zone

Curator: Tabanda

The mission of the Test Zone is simple – to become familiar with the materials: wood, paper, metal and textiles. We’ll let you explore their qualities, test the potential of each of them and use them creatively to construct objects according to our own ideas.

Our aim was to create a zone responding to the human need to interact with the objects and materials in front of us. There are no prohibitions or limitations in the Test Zone. We will be encouraging you to use all your senses and broaden your cognitive processes. The exhibition demonstrates how materials – as they pass through human minds and imaginations metamorphose into specific forms: architecture, design and artistic installations. Additionally, it also makes us conscious that every material demands special treatment, respect when being worked, patience, consistency and a suitable amount of time. Any attempts to make light of these individual traits always means that the final effect and our intentions ends in fiasco.

Technological progress tries to harness and control the materials which surround us. And give them forms, thicknesses and shapes which are increasingly precise and accurate. However, materials always remains alive and carry within them an element of unpredictability. They subtly react to the surrounding conditions. Test Zone is a playground and an interactive exhibition presenting four materials: wood, paper, metal and textiles.

No doubt wood is the material closest to the curators. It’s a ubiquitous material, and the origin of other materials, like paper. It’s fascinating from the moment it emerges from the earth in the form of a tiny leaf. We have to wait until wood grows, gains mass, resilience, load-bearing capacity, smell and colour. It cannot be manufactured. Wood is also a material full of contradictions and extreme characteristics. It protects, gives shade and rest, but is also a fuel for fire, destruction and disaster. It grows upwards, is identified with a divine element, while on the other hand it grows down uncompromisingly into the earth, personifying subterranean forces. Stable, confident and solidly set, but also bold, winding and pliant, full of dynamism and energy. Its traits have remained unchanged forever, and we, forever inspired by its complex nature, discover it over again.

Although Metal personifies stability, certainty and strength, it is elastic, can be fragile, can buckle, and from the moment it is made it undergoes corrosion of various kinds. Textiles are always flexible and malleable, resist imposed forms and shapes, wear out, get worn away, wrinkle and are unruly. Created from countless small fibres, it is like an organism seeking liberation. Wood warps, shrinks, swells, rots, and deviates from straight lines. Paper is, by its very nature, light and obedient, bends, deforms, remembers… but can be spiteful.

What could result from the conscious collaboration of people with materials?
The culmination of Test Zones is an installation which will be created by the festival’s participants. That is “The Brave New World Tree”; a 3D structure whose shape may break free of the initial intentions people have for it.