'A day without laughter is wasted' - Charlie Chaplin
'You get your ups and downs in life. I suppose I've been acting all my life' - Gerald
From September 2015 I have been working with residents at MildMay Park Care Home in Islington. My practice increasingly explores social issues in a participatory manner and I have been developing a collaborative working process that uses humour.
This series of photographs document a collaboration between myself and a resident of MildMay Park Extra Care Home (Gerald). Gerald has had an extremely eventful life of (in his words) 'survival'. Over a decade of survival lead to Gerald having a stroke which an experience that he is building himself up again from (12 months on...). In preparation for the arrival of the Theatre group 'Ladder to the Moon', Gerald and I worked collaboratively for 3 days. Since the theme of the theatre event was the film 'Some Like it Hot', we explored 1920's American gangster culture. We made props for and set up a prohibition era photoshoot in Gerald's room. We also transformed Gerald's wheel chair into a getaway car. For many, a wheel chair is an object that symbolises anxieties about losing independence, displaces self identity and can be physically and psychologically isolating. In transforming the wheel chair we confront these concerns, which are issues faced many people living in sheltered accommodation.
By using humour, exploring fictional narratives and by embodying a character, both creative collaborators were equal agents in the creative process and outcome.
This gave us momentum for more projects and collaborations...
See more about the work here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-barBgaSkk&feature=youtu.be