immer (German, adverb): always
"I don't want to be a simile anymore," I said. "I want to be a metaphor."
China Miéville, quote from Embassytown (2011)
IMMER is a Toronto-based artistic collective established in 2017 comprised of Jonathan Osborn, Danielle Baskerville, and Hannah Schallert. The collective’s artistic mandate is to explore phenomena through intensive sensory immersion, physical observation, and embodied research, and create detailed and specific kinaesthetic performance works that provide moving mediations on unlikely subjects, collapse constellations between art, science, and culture, and contribute to the ever-shifting landscape of Canadian contemporary performance. With over 10 years of experience working together as a collaborative team, Jonathan Osborn and Danielle Baskerville created IMMER to serve as a vehicle for their future choreographic endeavours. Acknowledging the growing importance of artistic mentorship, Hannah Schallert was invited to join the collective to gain experience as both an apprentice artist and an administrator. IMMER also collaborates on a project-by-project basis with other Toronto artists working across disciplines of dance, media, sound, and design.
Prior to IMMER's conception Jonathan Osborn and Danielle Baskerville collaborated on and created five solo performance works: Piece for Danielle Baskerville (2008), Disco Oracle (2010), Devine Acid (2016), ARK (2017), and ARCHE (2018). Hannah Schallert’s previous work as a dance and media artist spanned performance, film, and installation, and included projection design, dance for camera, and video art. In 2018, she was commissioned alongside Marie Lambin-Gagnon to create a short dance film, Chromatic Variations, that premiered at Dancemakers and RT Collective’s Screen:Moves festival.
In August 2018, IMMER presented Growing the Past, a 3-week dance workshop and performance series on the exterior grounds of the Spadina Museum, as part of Toronto Arts Council’s Animating Historic Sites initiative. Programming included daily yoga classes, movement classes facilitated by dance professionals, a speaker series, and three days of dance performances based on aspects of the Spadina Museum gardens. All activities were held outdoors, open to the public and free of charge. The project sought to explore the gardens as a site shaped by both human and non-human choreographies, and to propose new ways of relating to this rich embodied history. Scholars presenting at the speaker series drew upon their own research to share ideas surrounding the confluence of formal garden design and western dance, and the intersection of botany, somatic practices, and social justice; while invited choreographers, as well as costume and sound designers, spent three weeks in residence on the grounds in order to develop unique site-specific works that reflected their experiences of navigating, inhabiting, and tending to the gardens. During their time at the Museum Jonathan and Danielle created GARDEN (2018), for which movement vocabulary was developed by studying the geometric design of the garden and examining the forms, movement, and patterns of the plants, animals, and objects that reside there.
More recent projects include 100 Years of Cinematic Solitude (2022), a project based on the physical gestures of women performers in global cinema over the last 100 years, XENOMORPHIA (in-progress), a collaboration with interpreter David Norsworthy and the research librarians of the Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation, and Fantasy concerned with descriptions of alien bodies in speculative fiction, and Animating Gestures (forthcoming) a choreographic examination of animated bodies in global cinema.