Summary evaluation of OJO*EYE*OOG
Filenumber SOC 97 101683 05E03
RESEMBLANCE AND DIFFERENCE
Imagine a project that is cross-art, cross-ability, cross-cultural and cross-country. OJO*EYE*OOG has been a project like that. It brought together three pioneer arts companies of people with different physical abilities and disabilities, from different countries. Speaking different languages and having a different cultural background. But also, in this case, using different artistic mediums, and having distinct approaches to the notion of disability. Talk about art!
OJO*EYE*OOG and the artistic products it brought forth challenged and continue to challenge more than just a few concepts. On a very practical level, OJO*EYE*OOG should be viewed as an international pioneer low-budget project.
CHRONOLOGY: THE START OF OJO*EYE*OOG
The companies involved had met before, unavoidably, at festivals. Diagonaal is a drama company from the Netherlands, basing its productions on a method called disability analysis. Crei-Sants/BCN Doble is a Spanish company that transforms therapeutic-creative processes into spectacle- performances based on images. Common Ground is a British sign-dance group, blending these mediums in their performances.
The decision is made to use the Unlimited Arts Company as an umbrella for the OJO*EYE*OOG-project.
It was agreed to split up the project in three parts that would take place in respectively Great Britain, the Netherlands and Spain. Each part of OJO*EYE*OOG was composed of:
WORK IN PROGRESS
June '97 - OJO
During a period of workshops based on the sign-dance working method Common Ground OJO was created. The piece was brought out at the Chapman Theatre, Salford University. The SHAPE International "Visibility Festival of Integrated Arts" at Nottingham then proved to be another good environment for the presentation of work from OJO*EYE*OOG and the project's companies. All three companies were invited to the final night of the festival, They brought a special edition of OJO*EYE*OOG in the Nottingham Playhouse.
November 1997 EYE
In Holland EYE was made, even though the Spanish group could not join caused by lack of money and both OJO and EYE were performed twice and workshops given.
January 1998 OOG
The last workshop of OJO*EYE*OOG centered on the theme of artistic leadership in Barcelona. They planned a project based on the poems of Lorca. Its outline and planning of the production were set, when it became clear BCN Doble/Crei Sants again would not be able to participate. As Spain withdrew from the project, the board of Unlimited Arts made the hard decision to abort the project altogether.
EVALUATION OF THE WORKING PROCESS
"There are no boundaries, only possibilities. Having a disability means having so many limitations that to fall back in acquired behaviour is almost impossible."
Most of the goals that were set for OJO*EYE*OOG were achieved and even some not expected ones. It was a "learning zone" for all those involved. So although not all the elements it was designed to incorporate could grow fully or to an ideal extent, the project was a tremendous success. An evaluation and analysis of its course might give future projects an opportunity to stand on the shoulders of OJO*EYE*OOG.
For a clear view on OJO*EYE*OOG and the course of the project it is absolutely necessary to take into account that all companies involved were and are pioneers in their field. In their ways of questioning the regular idiom and its elaborations all three companies are successful pioneers. But also regarding organization and infrastructure companies like those involved are always working close to the impossible. For the course of the project these circumstances entailed:
It should further more be stressed that the infrastructure of the companies can hardly meet the requirements of a project this size.
Goals and achievements
In the pressure cooker that OJO*EYE*OOG also has been most obstacles were of a practical kind.
Self-reflection and outbreak from isolation
Next to these tangible results, OJO*EYE*OOG also had unpredicted consequences that deserve special attention. The project led to extreme self-reflexivity within the companies involved a result that should be considered carefully.
Based on the experience of OJO*EYE*OOG the following recommendations can be formulated:
Financial support for (projects of) organizations, involved in professional artistic productions of performers with a disability is indispensible. The field in which these organizations operate is an important frontier in performing arts, and a frontier in changing ways of thinking about disability. On behalf of the board of Unlimited Arts and the groups involved in OJO*EYE*OOG I would like to thank the Commission for the trust invested in us.
Joke Menssink, project leader
Amsterdam, December 8th 1998
Unlimited Arts Company
OUR FIRST PROJECT
DESIGN&HTML Joke Menssink