The Test Tube is an exciting initiative from the team at The Incubator Creative Hub, a Creative Innovation Project which launched in spring 2020. At each bi-monthly network event, Tauranga’s creative community of emerging and established innovators of artistic practice have the chance to trial new projects and ideas, connect with supporters, mentors and potential investors, network with like-minded artists, performers and design-makers, and put their ideas to the wider local community.
The February event will include an amazing light and sound experience developed by multi-media artist (and Toi Ohomai creative technologies tutor) Kyle Sattler, as he launches his self-made third album (as his alter ego We Will Ride Fast) on retro blue vinyl. Kyle describes Emotional Molecules as “a blend of eclectic art rock sensibilities – driven bass Alt Pop with vocals”.
Performance comes from the extraordinary Wynand Claassen, contemporary choreographer and a relative newcomer to Tauranga. Wynand has launched W Dance Company, an initiative that offers a part-time professional platform for dancers through performance opportunities, and a collaborative showcase to benefit local artists. The Test Tube is delighted to showcase his company’s work ahead of their official launch performance on 15 May at Baycourt Theatre.
The Test Tube also presents a pop-up fashion show featuring talented local fashion designers Liz Hunter and Orna Amir, who work together as Vamped and are resident designers at Satellite Studios – an artisan cluster of creatives at the Village. Vamped are known for their handmade and sustainable designs, with Liz imaginatively upcycling men’s shirts and Orna creating colour patchworked designs for women and children. The fashion show will be sound-tracked by local DJ and Incubator team member Ayesha Kee.
Sustainable practice is also embraced by visual artists, including Incubator Studios’ own Sam Allen; emerging artist Rolph Hediger; and newcomer Kim Fifield who takes discarded packaging and clothing into new collaged forms. Kim is partially inspired by material that built up at home during the 2020 lockdown: her experiments push her into new creative territory as she aims to make thoughtful and attractive artworks that also minimise what ends up in landfill.
Connor Ingle, known as King Komodo, will be travelling from Taupo especially. Connor amazingly declares himself to be colour-blind – hard to believe when looking at his playful abstracts which explore notions of line, movement and action. His novel approach to art has included “a kind of treasure hunt, with online clues being sent throughout the day. I try to get people out of their houses and on their feet!” Tauranga graphic designer Troy Coker will be presenting a collection of recent illustrations showing his surreal take on his life experiences and people he encounters. Troy is currently studying game art through Auckland’s Media Design School.
The Test Tube events are a literal test bed for new work, supporting students, arts graduates, and fledgling artists – all who are looking to experiment and make significant changes in their work, through form, materials, themes, and presentation styles. They also encourages community groups to trial products where design creativity skills have been applied in developing fundraising or merchandise.
Simone Anderson, director of The Incubator, says “We bring together leaders of local business, innovation and entrepreneurial growth groups and networks, enabling us to enrich the cultural life of our exciting city – and have a great evening out where the connections and experiences are tangible. For artists and performers Test Tube bridges the void that appears when creatives reach the end of their study or have simply arrived at the next level of their creative trajectory. The Test Tube project creates strong links to more specialised business support that creative entrepreneurs require for success. This is essential to the livelihoods of our most innovative and exciting new artists, designers and performers. Our ambition for Test Tube is to provide an exciting, entertaining, and welcoming new platform for great dialogues, inspiring art and the greater enrichment of our community.”
Image: Jess Lowcher Photography