Test_Labs is a series of V2_programmes, running since 2006, where developments in the field of artistic research and development are demonstrated, tested, presented and discussed. Test_Labs bring together specialists from a wide range of scientific and artistic
disciplines, young creators, students, and theorists in an informal
setting. Since 2011 we've been using the name 'Graduation Edition' for the evenings on which the most promising work of freshly graduated artists and designers is shown and discussed. Actually it's a format that we started to use in 2007 with the Test_Lab PLAY – in the first years we used a theme also for each 'graduation edition'.
In the 8 previous editions about 40 artists showed work. It would be interesting to see if there are any trends – or maybe there are no recognizable trends. Let's just take a quick look at some artists who showed work through the years.
Gordan Savicic was invited to show his graduation work in 2007. A couple of years later he created the now legendary Web2.0 Suicide Machine (2009) – a programme to facilitate deleting one's social media accounts. It went viral and was banned eventually by Facebook.
In 2008 Gordan Savicic was present again (I'm not sure if he graduated again...). Danja Vasiliev was also there. I remember that he had made a large sculpture with harddrives. He collaborated with Gordan Savicic on the Web2.0 Suicide Machine, and went on to collaborate as well with Julian Oliver. Also presenting on that night was Ricardo O'Nascimento, graduating at the Kunstuniversität Linz. He would be back several times at V2_, and will very soon lead the Open Set wearables workshop at V2_ (on 31 July).
In 2009 we invited Cesar Harada's Open Sailing project to the Test_Lab What Crisis. His story is well known. He went on to work on Protei at V2_, and has since then enjoyed international success. But on that very evening there was also a presentation by Sander Veenhof, graduating from the Rietveld Academy. He is now one of the artists at the forefront of Augmented Reality.
David Benqué graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2010, and showed work at the Test_Lab Invisible Cities. He was back at V2_ with the exhibition Blueprints for the Unknown in 2014.
Nicky Assmann was part of the Test_Lab Graduation Edition in 2011, showing her stunning 'soap film apparatus' Solace, which was shown internationally afterwards, travelling as far as Taiwan and Pittsburgh, and was reviewed in a.o. The Creator's Project (of Vice) and Huffington Post.
A high point of the Graduation Edition in 2012 was a live performance of Lightscape by Matthijs Munnik, graduating from the Royal Academy in the Hague. He would go on to show work in a.o. the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Kontraste Festival in Krems, Austria.
The 2013 edition featured amongst others Jonas Lund. He already had a solo at Showroom MAMA, Rotterdam (2013) and Steve Turner (2014) and has shown work in New York, Paris, Haarlem, and the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven.
Maybe 2014 is too close to the present to already feature one of the five graduates... I will look back on that one at a later stage.
By the way, most Test_Lab events were video taped. Just go to the webpage of the event, and you'll find the associated video's embedded. If you like to revisit the past: you can.