Test Unit — Material Flows

Cities are made up of overlapping material flows. At a time of rapid urbanisation, these flows are getting ever faster, denser and more complex. The construction industry accounts for 38% of total global emissions. Waste, water and air-borne pollution exacerbate existing spatial and social injustices and store up environmental problems for generations to come. In this context, it is increasingly urgent that we radically reassess how we relate to the material world: how we extract, process, distribute and dispose.

Through discussion, collaborative research, design and construction, this year’s Test Unit invites contributors to consider our relationship with materials, along with the ecological, industrial and technological systems that bring them into being.

Can we reveal, disrupt or reimagine these flows to create healthier, more resilient, more just cities? Is it possible to create self-sufficient networks within cities, networks in which materials and resources are the basis for means-orientated design? Can we use digital infrastructures to support this?

Responding to project briefs from our facilitators, whose backgrounds span arts practice, design, research, construction, data and technology we will use Speirs Locks as a site to experiment, build and learn. Whether speculative, performative or fantastical, the outcomes of the summer school will contribute to our collective understanding of material flows and their relationship to context, giving us space to think about new modes of production and exchange.

About the project:

Test Unit is an art, design and architecture summer school and events programme. Over an intensive week we create a hands-on learning environment to explore a theme and engage with ideas, materials, people and place.

We provide the space, materials and tools for people to realise tangible projects and test ideas in public space. By bringing together people from various disciplines and skill levels we aim to create an open forum for critical dialogue and peer-to-peer learning. The project is based in Civic House and adjacent sites – we use these as studios, workshops and build spaces. We also programme a public-facing events and talks programme that brings different voices to the discussion and connects with wider audiences in the city and beyond.

Test Unit is a project produced by Agile City with invaluable support from partners and funders.

FACILITATORS:

Assemble
A Feral Studio
Toby Paterson & Raydale Dower
Rectangle

CONTRIBUTORS:

Research partner:
Theatrum Mundi

Talk from:
Richard Sennett

KEY DATES:

TUE 7 MAY – TEST UNIT 2019 MEET UP

FRI 17 MAY – APPLICATION DEADLINE

10-15 JUNE – SUMMER SCHOOL