by Joe Jessop
of Aiding Dramatic Change in Development (ADCID)
In February myself and the other members of the Imagining Possibilities team took a trip to Koffler Gallery to experience an exhibition titled No Work, Nor Device Nor Knowledge, Nor Wisdom by Leopold Plotek. The paintings I saw gave me inspiration and different ideas about expressing emotions. Not only was I inspired to express these emotions through my own paintings, but also through the manipulation of fabrics and story making.
Firstly, Leopold Plotek’s paintings got me thinking about the masks I saw in a recent participatory theatre performance called Shelf Life at the Tarragon Theatre, in which Stephen Sillett, an ADCID facilitator who was with us during our visit to Koffler Gallery, played the father in that performance and the team went see it. The chorus wore masks during the interludes throughout the play and this had an impact on me artistically, which I am still thinking about. As with the relationship to these masks, the paintings in the exhibition had the ability to transport me to very different worlds. Laura, a new member of the leadership team, also expressed similar experiences regarding this. Many paintings showed me things that were challenging in my own life and connected to my own personal issues of aging with CP. It makes me feel stronger when I spend a lot of time with artwork working out its meaning, and it is very different to trying to understand things in my body which are often painful.
On the day that we visited Koffler Gallery, the Imagining Possibilities Leadership Team was taken on a tour of the exhibition in a respectful way and Leopold’s artistic intentions were explained in depth by a gallery docent and I know the whole team, including myself, really appreciated it.
As a team, we used that experience to create an interactive performance event which we spent many hours preparing and proved to be a very creative, and lively undertaking. Coming to the Edge was a performance which took people out of their comfort zones, as they participated alongside our team to create stories. I enjoyed taking part in creating and performing in that show, and I now see myself becoming a better performer. I hope this can help me when I present some of my own personal stories in the future.
The Imagining Possibilities Leadership Team, is a group of 6 adults with Cerebral Palsy and who use alternative augmentative communication, and we have been developing our artistic skills for the past 5 years through a community arts project, developed by ADCID. The group has worked with ADCID artists to develop a style of creative improvisation which enables us to express our ideas and create stories as an ensemble, and is responsive to our physical realities. Together we are exploring ways of expressing these ideas, in a way that is participatory for not just the performer, but also the audience member with physical disabilities.
Joe Jessop was part of the original explorations from the original 2011 project and rejoined the group in 2016 as we prepared to create the Come to the Edge performance.
Gallery photos taken by Richard Max Tremblay, and are installation views of No Work, Nor Device, Nor Knowledge, Nor Wisdom, Koffler Gallery, Toronto, 2017.
ADCID performace photos taken by Deane Cameron, during Come to the Edge at Artscape Sandbox, Toronto, 2017.