Hello! I’m Johanna, founder and Artistic Director of creature/creature, an association guided by the principle of remaining in a state of redefinition. We call something a creature if we don’t know what it is: the word evokes curiosity, alertness, hospitality, and possibly danger. This is the state I want to be in when I make and experience art.
In 2009, I made a solo piece called My Pregnant Brother about identity issues I was sorting through while my brother was having a baby. Recently, he and I came together to tell his side of the shared events (My Playwright Sister). The discovery that although we were siblings our stories were worlds apart was humbling. It was also the inspiration for this venture: I want to keep working with differences--be they geographical, experiential, cultural, or personal.
For me, creature/creature is an evolution from an experiment I set in motion 10 years ago, the Freestanding Room: a member-driven space designed to give artists an immediate and accessible place to create. Open to anyone willing to pay their share of the rent, it was built on the principle that if we stand, independently but together, we can do more, more easily, which increases the potential for risk and innovation.
And after many years curating Centaur Theatre’s Wildside Festival and working as an international touring artist, I’ve become enchanted with the process of curation. I’ve had the opportunity to bring visiting artists together with host companies, sparking meaningful partnerships that are as fulfilling to me as my own creations, and I want to continue this bonding experiment. I believe the future of live art has the brightest potential in diversified collaboration.
Also, most of what I know I learned from my two decades as a bartender. One of the places I helped create, Else’s, is still going strong after 20 years. It was founded on a simple and solid platform: everyone’s welcome, honour your regulars. If we are to have art, we need art patrons. The relationship between the two is reciprocal and equal.
So this is the plan. I will be creating work by joining unfamiliar elements. At the same time, I will be curating a collection of artistic associates who share a passion for increasing the reach and scope of our communities. By using the association as an umbrella, I want to help collaborators find each other, help new work find audiences, and use our combined strength to access greater shared resources.
Think of creature/creature as an ongoing festival with no fixed date or location: a uniting force, bringing together artists and art patrons of all disciplines to explore new performative relationships.