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Formed in 1981 in the decaying South London inner-city area of New Cross, Test Dept rejected the conventional and developed a style reflecting the decay of their surroundings. Transforming found industrial items into designed, sculptural instruments, they forged a hard rhythm based sound, mixed with found sound samples and electronics.

From their inception Test Dept created a unique performance enviroment using slide and film projections while reinvigorating disused industrial settings.

The scale of the performance events began to rise and other working artists became involved under the umbrella of the 'Ministry of Power'. Collaborations were formed between filmmakers, sculptors, dancers and politically active groups, including the Miners in 1984/85, Printworkers in 1987 and Ambulance workers in 1989/90.

Test Dept became renowned for producing epic scale site specific productions within Britain, such events included Arch 69 at Waterloo, 'The Unacceptable Face of Freedom' at Bishops Bridge Maintenance depot, Paddington, and Cannon Street Station in a continuing burgeoning relationship with

TD were also commited to the 'grass roots' and toured extensively in Europe, in 1985 they became one of the only Western bands to breach the 'iron curtain' and tour in the Eastern block countries.

In 1992 from the ashes of Test Dept Productions (an offshoot of The Ministry of Power) NVA was formed in Glasgow to focus on large scale productions.

The remaining core of the group moved into the area of the underground dance scene, whose counter cultural values were to find themselves at odds with both mainstream musical values and the Government. The politicisation of the dance movement became official with the introduction of The Criminal Justice Bill to prevent large scale gatherings of both protesters and ravers. TD dissolved shortly after the release of Tactics for Evolution in 1998.