Testing Times

  • Victoria Mapplebeck
  • United Kingdom
  • 2021
  • 30 min
  • Immersive
  • World Premiere
  • DocLab: Liminal Reality, IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling

Hand-washing, having disinfectant gel at the ready, keeping your distance, and feeling anxiety: they’ve all been familiar aspects of daily life since the start of the global pandemic. And as it did for most people, lockdown radically changed family life for director and multimedia artist Victoria Mapplebeck and her 17-year-old son Jim.

This immersive sound installation captures the impact of this bizarre period, at macro and micro level. Mapplebeck recorded more than 50 hours of voicemails and telephone calls between her and her son, as well as conversations with doctors, friends, her mother, and other family members, intercutting them with news items and government announcements. How did this extreme situation affect the different generations? What conflicts will arise out of this “new normal?”

At one point, Victoria’s son Jim describes it as the best and toughest period of his life. Despite all the restrictions, uncertainties, and harsh words, the pandemic also brought with it a kind of beauty. And it offered time to reflect on life, death, and the meaning of dreams.

Project supported by DocLab R&D Program 


  • 30 min
  • Spoken languages: English
Victoria Mapplebeck
Jim Mapplebeck
Victoria Mapplebeck for First Person Films
Anton Yavorsky
John Wakefield, Duncan Speakman

IDFA history

World Premiere
DocLab: Liminal Reality
IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling

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IDFA history

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