By establishing an artistic leadership program, we are fulfilling our mission in a new way by inviting an artist living with a disability to initiate and direct a creation of their own. This leadership demonstrates a unique political stance. By handing power to an artist with an intellectual disability, we further our research on marginalized aesthetics and voices. Our goal is to develop interdependent creative models and practices, promoting the emergence of underrepresented voices that have not been part of the dominant artistic trends. In doing so, we are disrupting aesthetic hierarchies and continuing to dismantle biases against artists who evolve outside the artistic establishment.
Devoting our human, logistical, and artistic support to facilitating their development, we work to nurture each artist’s fresh and unique vision, with the ultimate goal of presenting their work in professional venues.
Artistic leadership has led us to introduce a new role to our artistic teams: the creative ally (our version of Graeae Theatre, London’s “creative enabler”). The creative ally is a support worker with skills and experience in the discipline practiced by the artist. Our resident artists can call on their creative ally to facilitate the expression of their artistic ideas and the exploration of various creative materials. The ally’s task is flexible and adaptable to each artist’s specific needs, in order to support their practice and foster professional accessibility. For the creative ally, respecting the boundary between supporting the artist’s ideas and making their own creative contribution requires rigour and integrity.
Following a 3-year artistic residency that led to Le Magasin Ferme performance, the creativity and artistic excellence of Edon Descollines are undeniable. In autumn 2022, Joe Jack and John invited him to carry on with the collaboration in order to support him in the deployment of his many ideas.
The company is therefore proud to welcome Edon as its first associate artist. This collaboration will allow him to deepen his experiences and to be supported in his multiple longer-term projects, thus ensuring the sustainability of his artistic vision within Joe Jack & John. In addition to his theatrical aims, Edon works on a corpus of works on paper with the aim of a first exhibition in a gallery, he collaborates with Spectrum Productions for the 2D animation of his drawings and is currently working on an illustrated autobiography.
The exceptional career of Edon Descollines is tangible proof that the work of a creator is greatly enriched when supported and valued by both human and material resources. Recognition of the creative potential of a marginalized artist allows his talent to shine on the entire artistic community and society.
Photo: Thibault Carron
Michael Nimbley, who has participated in four of Joe Jack & John’s productions, is the company’s first Artist-in-Residence and developed his project Les Waitress sont tristes. Les Waitress follows one nomadic man’s journey through a labyrinthine universe as he constantly confronts the status quo… Meanwhile, the waitresses are constantly asking themselves: “Why are we sad? Why are we mad?” Music and escapism are the life rafts that these characters cling onto as they repeat the same gestures over and over again.
Like a modern-day Western, Les Waitress takes us on a wild ride that features a mountain, a bar, and a railway track. There are stories of drunken cats; shoes; souvenirs; beer bottles, and line dancing… all set to the music of John Denver. The production was presented from September 16 to October 1, 2022, at Espace Libre.
Original Concept, Co-Director, Performer: Michael Nimbley
Creative Ally : Catherine Bourgeois
Artist Edon Descollines is working with Emma-Kate Guimond on a short multidisciplinary piece combining performance, spoken word, dance, and video.
The store is closing. The door is closed. The lights are off. And so they will remain. Since 1997, every time a store has announcds its closing, Edon’s heart has tightened. He compulsively buys from the shopkeeper as a way to express his empathy and hold onto a memory of a reality that is doomed to disappear.
According to Edon, behind the closing of the stores lies a virtual giant that generates bankruptcies: the Internet. Who are these salespeople who are taking over the Web? Are they as relatable as the fallen merchants? Are we becoming too dependent on technology? Will our future be managed by machines?
Through their research, Edon and Emma-Kate explore nostalgia and childhood; that time when shops were places of encounters, possibilities, exchanges. They take a stroll through the melancholy and sadness of everyday life, looking into the future, sometimes with concern, sometimes with curiosity. Faced with the impossibility of containing their immense creative energy, this duo opts instead for accumulation and contamination, screaming slogans out loud: “We’re sick of it! We don’t give a damn!”
Original Concept, Co-Creator, Performer: Edon Descollines
Co-Creator, Performer: Emma-Kate Guimond
Photos : Marie Sébire