Jo, Don't Go There

Jo, Don't Go There

a note from Oliver Jane, Creator of Jo Don’t Go There

Sometimes the “show must not go on” and that’s ok.

When I made the decision to not move forward with my piece Jo Don’t Go There in Rendezvous with Madness 2020, I was encouraged by my friend and contact at Workman Arts to write a short reflection for all of you in lieu of the show. Here you will find some rambling, musing, and reflecting. Thank you for taking a brief moment to reflect with me.

When I agreed to move forward with the project several months ago, I was excited by the challenge of transferring my live performance pieces to video web content. Unfortunately, I found that meeting the demands of a precarious/always changing pandemic environment made completing the project difficult. I am an artist that lives with chronic pain, Rheumatoid Arthritis, PTSD symptoms, and OCD symptoms. The greatest lesson I have learned from managing all of these is that I should not go beyond my limits. Unfortunately, working in solo-isolation and not having funding to adequately compensate others to do the much-needed-tasks to make this project show-ready was bringing me close to my limits.

Since I made the choice to pause the show, the phrase “the show must go on” has been echoing through my mind. Upon reflecting on the nagging presence of this phrase within my mind, I recall that I have, almost exclusively, operated within creative environments where that sentence is espoused. I have worked in so many creative environments where the expectation to see a show to its completion is demanded of artists, producers, and production teams: no matter the cost. My years training to be an artist and working professionally have been colored by watching many friends and colleagues sacrifice their physical and mental health to see work to its completion. For many years I have wondered if creative communities should let go of the phrase “the show much go on” and refrain from normalizing the practice of sacrificing physical and mental wellness amongst artists. What I have witnessed in theatre schools and amongst theatre makers has made me consciously attempt to avoid working myself beyond my limits so that I do not worsen my already-sometimes-very-challenging health.

So I say once again, to comfort myself and to encourage those who find themselves also facing projects, businesses, and plans that need to be put on pause, closed, or canceled as a result of the pandemic: “the show must not go on” and that’s ok.

I’d like to offer gratitude to the team who has assisted me during this process. Though the show will not be viewed in this festival, I am continuing the reflect on and develop the body of work I have made thus far. I feel I must offer my deep gratitude to all those who gave me their time and talents.

  • I am grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with my older brother, a very skilled video editor, who has been a cherished peer, mentor, and teacher (of art and life) for these last several months.
  • I am grateful to the handful of talented musician friends who were willing to do some work on this project for free, for very low fees, or for barter.
  • I am grateful to Workman Arts for supporting me as I adjusted the show to the changes brought about by the pandemic. This is my second experience working with Workman Arts, and I cannot emphasize enough how much I appreciate the work Kelly, Scott, Cara, Paulina, and the rest of the team working behind the scenes at Workman Arts do to make this really special festival happen. And during a pandemic, no less!
  • Finally, I am grateful for organizations like Workman Arts that are actively striving to foster greater diversity of representation within the Ontario and Toronto creative community. I hope you all will continue to support and patronize Workman Arts even after the festival has passed.

I hope you enjoy the rest of the festival, you remember to stay safe, you do what you can to support and aid the most vulnerable in our communities, you donate to groups and organizations that are trying to address the already existing racial and economic inequality within North America that has been exacerbated by the pandemic, and you all focus your energies on taking care of your immunity and your mental health while the world faces global crisis. I know I will!

I send love and gratitude to you all.

-Oliver Jane

goat(h)owl theatre / Lead Artist, Performer, Creator, Writer: Oliver Jane / Collaborator, Performer: Leah Pritchard / Collaborator, Performer: Jillian Rees-Brown / Video Collaborator, Editor: Jon Jorgensen

Enter the mind of Jo, a nonbinary trauma survivor, video artist and clown. Meet Jo’s consciousness embodied: their performative imaginary friend Oli Oli Ennui, a snarky clown who doesn’t take all this modern art stuff too seriously. If you know Jo’s personal story (hailing from NYC, navigating OCD and PTSD while occupying space in Toronto during the pandemic), do you know Jo? If you hear Oli sing punk-injected cabaret, do you know their soul? Experience Jo’s multimedia happening: a video series, music playlists, Instagram uploads, photo exhibition and a live installation performance at 651 Dufferin Street. This collection of fragments resonates in permanent refrain: Do you know me now?

Founded by Maria Wodzinska and Oliver Jane in 2017, goat(h)owl generates collaboratively devised experiences. Grounded in the body, at the core of every piece is a question. We take flight through our investigation of the thematic territory, of our position to the question, and of our will-to-know. We attempt to affirm the unknowable with proposals — playing in-front-of/with/around an audience. We want to shake up sedimented modalities of meaning and truth-telling with our moving ensemble. We point the eye to the kaleidoscope of forms created. Do we invite the audience to make meaning? Yes. Do we make meaning? Come and see.

CONTENT WARNINGS

Loud Sounds, Mature Language, Nudity, Rape and/or Sexual Violence, Sexual Content, Suicide

ALSO OF INTEREST

Neuroelastic

Neuroelastic

THIS PROJECT IS PART OF THE RE:BUILDING RESILIENCE EXHIBITION.

Headshot of a person facing the camera with vividly colored stretchy paper strips wrapped around their head.

Creator: Laura Shintani / A/V: Grant Padley

Neuroelastic is a self-activated artistic performance. Taking a cue from the well-known concept of Dr. Norman Doidge’s neuroplasticity, it is inspiring that the mind can adapt in new ways. The artist imagined an idea; by wrapping oneself in streams of coloured synaptic “bandages” this symbolic act can allow thoughts and feelings to show on the outside. Using photography as documentation, a capture of the moment reveals what is hidden. This artwork of self-permission reflects on not only the unseen being seen, but that it can be changed. This collection of images I hope can read as a zany family album of the mind. Neuroelastic is an interior selfie and an invitation to an altered way of being.

Laura Shintani is a Toronto-based multimedia artist who creates work in order to provoke questions in artistic forms. Shintani represents a hybrid of work, art making, study and teaching. She is interested in seeing people embrace the cycle of creativity: playing, problem solving and reflecting. Raised in small-town Ontario, Shintani later studied fashion design at Ryerson University and received a degree from the University of Toronto. After personal discovery she made art a vocation and earned a Master of Fine Art from the University of Windsor. Shintani’s most significant exhibition was at the Royal Ontario Museum in 2019.

This artist has interactive materials which will be provided in the RWM swag bag in order to interact with their virtual content. All ticket holders will be invited to receive RWM swag bags available for free curbside pickup during festival hours.

Images of the Neuroelastic installation in Re:Building Resilience:

Photos by Henry Chang

Please Note: There is one virtual ticket available for the entire Re:Building Resilience Exhibition. Whether you’d like to see one project or all of them, you only need to book one ticket to access everything. The exhibition runs October 15-25, and all ticket purchasers will be sent a link to view the virtual content. Any ticket bought prior to October 15 will receive a follow up email on the 15th with the link.

ACCESSIBILITY

Self-Care Kits are available for free curbside pickup to ticket holders. Kits can be picked up from 651 Dufferin Street between the hours of 10AM-9PM, October 15-25. If pickup is not an accessible option for you, contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com for accommodation.

ALSO OF INTEREST

Due to Renovations

Due to Renovations

THIS PROJECT IS PART OF THE RE:BUILDING RESILIENCE EXHIBITION.

A photograph of a bottom half of a mannikin with a roll of silver duct tape on top of it against a concrete block wall. A piece of pink duct tape on the wall overlaps a piece of silver duct tape, with the two pieces forming an X shape.

Creator: Van Lisa

Due to Renovations is an installation piece focusing on a transmasculine experience of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Through several casting techniques, the artist captured their transitioning body at different stages of their HRT. These casts are suspended and framed within a construction zone containing other artifacts from the artist’s transition, including: a video montage of their gender identity experimentation, medical supplies and reports from their HRT and notated anatomy blueprints. Themes explored within the work include westernized concepts of gender expression; gender and body dysphoria; body modification and drag. Due to Renovations is an autobiographical paradox: it attempts to preserve a transition for both the spectator and the artist.

Van Lisa is a multidisciplinary artist with a focus on performance. As an AFAB (assigned female at birth) transgender individual, their work aims to conceptualize and challenge westernized ideologies of the transmasculine experience. Van works in Tkaronto as a performer and curator and is a part of the curatorial collective for both the 2020 and 2021 Rhubarb Festival’s at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

CONTENT WARNINGS

Nudity, Mature Language, Sexual Content

Images of the Due to Renovations installation in Re:Building Resilience:

Photos by Henry Chang

Please Note: There is one virtual ticket available for the entire Re:Building Resilience Exhibition. Whether you’d like to see one project or all of them, you only need to book one ticket to access everything. The exhibition runs October 15-25, and all purchasers will be sent a link to view the virtual content. Any ticket bought prior to October 15 will receive a follow up email on the 15th with the link.

ACCESSIBILITY

Self-Care Kits are available for free curbside pickup to ticket holders. Kits can be picked up from 651 Dufferin Street between the hours of 10AM-9PM, October 15-25. If pickup is not an accessible option for you, contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com for accommodation.

Van Lisa will be participating in the virtual panel discussion Resistant Bodies: The Intersections of Self and Health on October 21, at 1 PM. Click here to book a ticket.

Multitude of Fish

Multitude of Fish

THIS PROJECT IS PART OF THE RE:BUILDING RESILIENCE EXHIBITION.

A photograph of many small hand-sculpted red clay fish laid out on a rocky river bank.

Creator: Jenny Chen

Multitude of Fish is an installation consisting of 1000 handmade clay fish. In this piece, the artist touches on layers of meaning through its process and how it’s experienced by the viewer. She explored how things we cannot see like intention, emotions and thoughts, form our reality. This is reflected in the creation process as each mark carved into the clay builds up to the fish and eventually becomes a piece to the overall installation. For the past two years, Jenny worked with the image of water in her drawings which was preliminary work that led up to this installation. In her work, the fish flows through its surrounding space and leads the viewer on a journey reminiscent of the inner realm.

Jenny Chen is a multimedia artist, currently working in watercolor, pen and clay. Her work uses symbols to create otherworldly environments while considering themes of existentialism and spirituality. Her exhibition history includes the Living Arts Centre (group), Toronto Media Arts Centre (group) and United Contemporary (solo). She is a recipient of grants from the Ontario Arts Council (exhibition assistance) and Cue Arts Projects.

Images of the Multitude of Fish installation in Re:Building Resilience:

Photos by Henry Chang

Please Note: There is one virtual ticket available for the entire Re:Building Resilience Exhibition. Whether you’d like to see one project or all of them, you only need to book one ticket to access everything. The exhibition runs October 15-25, and all purchasers will be sent a link to view the virtual content. Any ticket bought prior to October 15 will receive a follow up email on the 15th with the link.

ACCESSIBILITY

Self-Care Kits are available for free curbside pickup to ticket holders. Kits can be picked up from 651 Dufferin Street between the hours of 10AM-9PM, October 15-25. If pickup is not an accessible option for you, contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com for accommodation.

ALSO OF INTEREST

untitled ({not} always like this)

untitled ({not} always like this)

THIS PROJECT IS PART OF THE RE:BUILDING RESILIENCE EXHIBITION.

A photograph depicting a wire wastebasket in the corner of a room, overflowing with crumpled tissues covered in a smooth, hard yellowish or grayish substance.

Creator: Kassandra Walters

untitled ([not] always like this) is an ongoing artwork created by collecting the artist’s used tissues and dipping them in porcelain, adding worth to an otherwise worthless object. The piece is a response to the society we live in and the importance placed on doing: you must make, you must work, you must grind. Our opinions of ourselves are tied to a quantifiable output rather than how we feel. Instead, we should spend time listening to our bodies, allowing ourselves to take things slow, being intentional with the way we move through the world and giving ourselves permission to heal from the everyday. These tissues hold the memories of going against the grain, of days stuck in sickness and hours lost crying.

Kassandra Walters is a multimedia artist currently practicing in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal. Her art tackles mental health, all that it encompasses and all that encompasses it. With a strong desire to normalize speaking about the unspeakable, Kassandra’s work is honest and raw. She finds solace in the act of making through repetition.

This artist has an item in the RWM swag bag to go with their piece in the exhibition. All ticket holders will be invited to receive RWM swag bags available for free curbside pickup during festival hours.

Images of the untitled ([not] always like this) installation in Re:Building Resilience:

Photos by Henry Chang

Please Note: There is one virtual ticket available for the entire Re:Building Resilience Exhibition. Whether you’d like to see one project or all of them, you only need to book one ticket to access everything. The exhibition runs October 15-25, and all purchasers will be sent a link to view the virtual content. Any ticket bought prior to October 15 will receive a follow up email on the 15th with the link.

ACCESSIBILITY

Self-Care Kits are available for free curbside pickup to ticket holders. Kits can be picked up from 651 Dufferin Street between the hours of 10AM-9PM, October 15-25. If pickup is not an accessible option for you, contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com for accommodation.

Into the dark of my skin

Into the dark of my skin

THIS PROJECT IS PART OF THE RE:BUILDING RESILIENCE EXHIBITION.

A multiple-exposure photograph of a crouched nude figure on a black background.

Creator: Wieslawa Nowicka / Video projection, 00:01:3

TOPIC: ANXIETY

Into the dark of my skin uses a bird’s eye view to look at all possible perspectives, going beyond the corners of the frame. Mutated and shared bodies visually meet in only one spot, never meeting in a second. Their virtual encounter is a need that satisfies and nourishes the fetal and its obsolete memory. This, unfortunately, is a search for impossible love or the cohabitation of two human beings, which is only possible through a visual juxtaposition. The video medium creates a ground that allows a meeting…impossible bodies, different times and places.

Wieslawa Nowicka explores the branches of visual art and its pluralism. As a result, she has liberated herself from a singularity, permitting her to explore the facets of history, anthropology, and psychoanalysis through the plurality of arts – painting, design, performance and video installations.

CONTENT WARNINGS

Nudity

Images of the Into the dark of my skin installation in Re:Building Resilience:

Photos by Henry Chang

Please Note: There is one virtual ticket available for the entire Re:Building Resilience Exhibition. Whether you’d like to see one project or all of them, you only need to book one ticket to access everything. The exhibition runs October 15-25, and all purchasers will be sent a link to view the virtual content. Any ticket bought prior to October 15 will receive a follow up email on the 15th with the link.

ACCESSIBILITY

Self-Care Kits are available for free curbside pickup to ticket holders. Kits can be picked up from 651 Dufferin Street between the hours of 10AM-9PM, October 15-25. If pickup is not an accessible option for you, contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com for accommodation.

Scarecrow

Scarecrow

THIS PROJECT IS PART OF THE RE:BUILDING RESILIENCE EXHIBITION.

An abstract painting of a monstrous figure; its arms are spread and its head appears to be exploding.

Creator: Mitchell Clark Meller

GENRE: VISUAL ART

Quote from the artist: My work is a reflection of an idiot world run by idiots. A two faced world where if you “appear” good, then you are an upstanding person. Being good is not important, just “appearing” good. A place where you can have a career managing and polishing someone’s public persona to make them appear human when they’re actually reptiles. A place where selfishness rules and the ego dictates action. I’m just here for a limited time and I paint what actually IS.

As a self-taught outsider artist from Toronto, Mitchell’s talent is intuitive and his paintings spring from an authentic need for expression. He discovered that through painting, one can overcome hardships. Working in a variety of media in a self -defined style, his larger works begin as vast, abstracted canvases that act like theatre venues, unveiling narratives of semi-figurative actions, improbable scenarios and inordinate scripts. The works offer the artist’s unique vision of the world through narratives of discontentment and critique, mockery and playfulness or just the simplicity of being.

CONTENT WARNINGS

Violence, Suicide, Anxiety

 

Please visit our online store to purchase:
Looking Up While Down I
Lamb (Scarecrow Redux)
Phoenix Pt. II

Images of the Scarecrow installation in Re:Building Resilience:

Photos by Henry Chang

Please Note: There is one virtual ticket available for the entire Re:Building Resilience Exhibition. Whether you’d like to see one project or all of them, you only need to book one ticket to access everything. The exhibition runs October 15-25, and all purchasers will be sent a link to view the virtual content. Any ticket bought prior to October 15 will receive a follow up email on the 15th with the link.

ACCESSIBILITY

Self-Care Kits are available for free curbside pickup to ticket holders. Kits can be picked up from 651 Dufferin Street between the hours of 10AM-9PM, October 15-25. If pickup is not an accessible option for you, contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com for accommodation.

ALSO OF INTEREST

The Anatomy of a Home

The Anatomy of a Home

THIS PROJECT IS PART OF THE RE:BUILDING RESILIENCE EXHIBITION.

A line drawing of a two-storey house on the top half of the page and a bee with its wings spread on the bottom half of the page.

Lead Artist: Saba Akhtar

The Anatomy of A Home is a multi-media installation exploring a person’s relationship to home. Audiences are invited to walk through a blueprint of a house etched into the floor and observe the artifacts placed within. This is part of a larger performance project that explores Saba’s relationships to home and isolation, in her past and during COVID-19.

Special Thanks: Tijiki Morris & Jules Voderak-Hunter

Saba Akhtar is an interdisciplinary artist based in Toronto and raised in Houston, Texas. Her arts practice is focused on intergenerational trauma and grief. She exhibits this through multimedia design (installation, video, photo), playwriting and performance. Saba’s education has been heavily influenced by mentorship from peers and elders in her community. She has a deep passion for helping others share their story as well and has established a career in community-engaged arts as a facilitator and mentor in multiple organizations.

CONTENT WARNINGS

Violence

Images of the The Anatomy of a Home installation in Re:Building Resilience:

Photos by Henry Chang

Please Note: There is one virtual ticket available for the entire Re:Building Resilience Exhibition. Whether you’d like to see one project or all of them, you only need to book one ticket to access everything. The exhibition runs October 15-25, and all purchasers will be sent a link to view the virtual content. Any ticket bought prior to October 15 will receive a follow up email on the 15th with the link.

ACCESSIBILITY

Self-Care Kits are available for free curbside pickup to ticket holders. Kits can be picked up from 651 Dufferin Street between the hours of 10AM-9PM, October 15-25. If pickup is not an accessible option for you, contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com for accommodation.

Alpha Support

Alpha Support

THIS PROJECT IS PART OF THE RE:BUILDING RESILIENCE EXHIBITION.

An abstract image of a blue and yellow rectangular block resting precariously upon a brown rectangular block.

Creator: Justin Mencel

GENRE: VISUAL ART

Executed as a hybrid of sculpture and painting, Alpha Support explores the distance between presumption and certainty when observing the masks that obscure vulnerability. The work examines sub-narratives of anxiety, mental health, relationships, support systems, security and the regeneration of personal power. They encourage that we take more social risks; offer support to those who have fallen, accept support in return, advance beyond projected facades to form deeper connections and sideline insecurities to allow our true selves to surface.

Justin Mencel is a Canadian painter, sculptor, and animator. He uses interpretations of space and time to explore elements of human nature and mental health. His work is sold by Birch Contemporary in Toronto.

To purchase pieces from the Alpha Support series, please contact paulina_wiszowata@workmanarts.com for more info.

Images of the Alpha Support installation in Re:Building Resilience:

Photos by Paulina Wiszowata

Please Note: There is one virtual ticket available for the entire Re:Building Resilience Exhibition. Whether you’d like to see one project or all of them, you only need to book one ticket to access everything. The exhibition runs October 15-25, and all purchasers will be sent a link to view the virtual content. Any ticket bought prior to October 15 will receive a follow up email on the 15th with the link.

ACCESSIBILITY

Self-Care Kits are available for free curbside pickup to ticket holders. Kits can be picked up from 651 Dufferin Street between the hours of 10AM-9PM, October 15-25. If pickup is not an accessible option for you, contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com for accommodation.

ALSO OF INTEREST

Mad Carpets - Hotel Carpet Dance Projections

Mad Carpets - Hotel Carpet Dance Projections

THIS PROJECT IS PART OF THE RE:BUILDING RESILIENCE EXHIBITION.

Blurry repeating abstract patterns with thick elongated orange streaks on a yellow background.

Creator: Grey K P Muldoon

GENRE: VISUAL ART

A colourful video projection onto a soft surface, marks the entrance to the installations – a suggestion that the guest, following the arrows, is entering a carnival fun house. A series of drifter dance documentations using hand motions and body movements to respond to and amplify the patterns of found carpets. Taken in the semi-public passageways of hotels— it explores the interpolation of class and the end of conference culture. An act of resiliency, and taking nothing for granted: watching a sunset from a goldfish bowl, spun on a ride at a carnival, your body stays still below, by becoming a blizzard, in an inside out forest. The project celebrates itinerancy of artists, mad folks and other portable persons.

Grey Muldoon (they/them) is a movement artist working primarily out of Toronto / Tkaronto and Halifax / Kjipuktuk. Grey is disciplined in performance and puppetry arts and makes immersive sculptural installations. A proud Workman Arts member, Grey is interested in close observation, picking things up and carrying them gently, and collaborating with clear-voicing and shout-noisilying. Their experience of rare cognitive relational vibrance, a.k.a. Autism, of survival system sensitivity and subtle time injuries, a.k.a complex PTSD, and the discovery of practical imagination technologies via crisises, a.k.a Madness, allows them to make their work.

Images of the Mad Carpets – Hotel Carpet Dance Projections installation in Re:Building Resilience:

Photos by Paulina Wiszowata

Please Note: There is one virtual ticket available for the entire Re:Building Resilience Exhibition. Whether you’d like to see one project or all of them, you only need to book one ticket to access everything. The exhibition runs October 15-25, and all ticket purchasers will be sent a link to view the virtual content. Any ticket bought prior to October 15 will receive a follow up email on the 15th with the link.

ACCESSIBILITY

Self-Care Kits are available for free curbside pickup to ticket holders. Kits can be picked up from 651 Dufferin Street between the hours of 10AM-9PM, October 15-25. If pickup is not an accessible option for you, contact justina_zatzman@workmanarts.com for accommodation.

ALSO OF INTEREST