As a producer, educator, and artistic entrepreneur, Mercer leads as the Company Director of Johnnie Cruise Mercer/TheREDprojectNYC (@jcm_redprojectnyc). Previous process-memoirs, happenings, and performance events have been commissioned/held at The Dixon Place, Bates Dance Festival (@batesdancefestival) Brooklyn Arts Exchange (@baxarts), AUNTS @NYU Skirball, The NADA Conference (@newartdealers), Abrons Arts Center (@abronsartcenter) The Fusebox Festival (@fuseboxfestival), Gibney (@gibneydance), Danspace Project Inc (@danspaceproject), The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (@theclaricemd) and most recently at the 92Y Harkness Dance Center! Mercer is currently 2019-2021 Artist in Residence at Brooklyn Arts Exchange (@baxarts), 2020-2021 Black Artist Space to Create AIR through The New Dance Alliance (@newdancealliance) and a 2020-2021 Ping Chong + Company (@pingchongco) Creative Fellow. Find out more info on the company and the work at www.trpnyc.com.
BAPTISM (PART I & II)
For Performance Mix, Johnnie Cruise Mercer/TheREDprojectNYCwill share BAPTISM (PART I & II), the first event of Process memoir 6: thenowlater (HEART). Part ritual, part process performance, BAPTISM follows the journey of “the red figure”, “the black figure”, and “the white figure” as they shed through time in a two-part self-guided metamorphosis.
BAPTISM (Part I) is a ritualistic-happening curated and directed by Adrienne Ansley, Community Coordinator of Johnnie Cruise Mercer/TheREDprojectNYC. BAPTISM (Part 1) will take place at Prospect Park. Exact Location TBA via Instagram invites. Follow for updates: @jcm_redprojectnyc and @newdancealliance.
TheREDprojectNYCwill share BAPTISM (Part II), a process-performance choreographically directed and designed by Johnnie Cruise Mercer. Process memoir 6: thenowlater (HEART) is a five-part series of community events scheduled throughout June 2021. Curated as a communal ritual and a documented moment, the series, writes Mercer, is “inspired by deeper sensational listening, the fourth and final journey of PM6 sets course on the ocean of freedom, visibly charting TRPNYC’s collective exodus from tradition.” Mercer is an NDA Black Artists Space To Create Resident Artist.
Process Memoir 1: plunge in/to 534
Shared: April 22nd 2018 @Fusebox Festival (Austin, TX)
Plunged into the spirit, the body reacts and finds joy in exhaustion. It clings to the acceptance of weight. Pain becomes the inspiration for continuation. Exhaustion. Sweat. Blood. Your (our) fluids become the call to conjure figures that linger in the darkness. The audience, I, we all are transported into an exorcism, a ritual of containment, of freedom, of war between realism, and deep trance. Our poly-centric origin is given permission to possess us- as our people, we are called upon. Something responds. Deep. Inside, it responds. Conceptualized through the lens of Johnnie Cruise Mercer’s black southern queer-baptist roots, plunge in/to 534 initiates a ritualistic ceremony (a practice) that calls/responds to the need for emotional, spiritual and generational release.
Residency Support: 2017 BAX Fall Space Grant, CDI (York College), Silo Dance/NOW, AIRspace Artist Abrons Arts Center, RVA Homecoming hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University
on the action of black&white became a reflective performative practice that spilled from the stage into reality. Inspired by political images, audience expectations, and personal moments of soliloquy, The ensemble tumbles through familiar environments/modes as they comment on, surrender to, and construct a pre-mature world based on dual opinion, influence, artistic demand, proposition, and spiritual instinct.
Residency Support: CDI (York College), Silo Dance/NOW, AIRspace Artist Abrons Arts Center, RestorationArts Choreoquest 2018 AIR
The earth holds without complaint. It holds. And as we stand on top of this soil, she holds. Take this. Take me, the weight that I carry. she holds my feet. She holds and then she allows. She infuses and then we are rejuvenated. revived.
I, We, are standing forever in youth. then free.
To the earth I give, from the earth we receive.
Oriented around the communal action of renewal, to ascend past numbness and witness birth is a guided meditation towards relinquish, and a ceremonial cleansing towards ephebism, freedom, and queering otherness.
Residency Support: 2018 NYU Summer Creative & Educational Residency
A sermon on spiritual freedom, process memoir 4: The word, the spirit, and Little Rock. happened as a three night radical-risk ritual; a meticulously crafted instruction-book in response to the book of Genesis. Invoking the opposite to confront dominance, the process-performance was a live-deconstruction of America’s most rooted belief system- “in him”.
A Response to A response to Genesis 2:23 (NIV)
See her. God, she appears. From the view of her child- her son. I am the bone of her bones, the flesh of her flesh- I was taken from her. Man. Made in his image…his image is not mine. Truthfully. I feebly seek sanctuary. I run to her. We run to her. In despite of her. Constantly we run, The dark, she has provided light.
Music direction/re-innovation by Monstah Black, conceptual/choreographic direction by Johnnie Cruise Mercer, and costume curation directed by Trebian Pollard
Residency Support: AIRspace Artist Abron Arts Center, Bates Dance Festival AIR 2018, Silo Dance/NOW, RVA Homecoming supported by Virginia Commonwealth University, 2018-2019 Danspace Commissioning Initiative supported by The Jerom Foundation and The Andrew M Mellon Foundation, Petronio Residency Center with support from NYS Dance Force, and New York University Department of Dance.
The time has come for me to begin, to conjure an active solo journey- an origin story inspired by multiple origin stories. Artifacts from the past haunt my subconscious, and the epic-memories that hold my foundation act as the impetus for a play on something greater, a larger movement. This process memoir is idiomatic. It’s a spiritual remembering. It feels like a halfway point for something required. And so, I prepare to be taken. In self-reflection, I prepare to embody my true faith, an epic voice. I embrace my inner indigo child.
Residency Support: Dixon Place AIR 2019, RestorationArts Choreoquest Artist 2018
Process memoir 6: thenowlater is a multi-layered ‘movement’ choreography charted as four journeys: (Body – Mind – Soul – Heart). Built as an artifact, an exodus toward black (embodied) freedom, PM6: thenowlater Journey Two treks into the mind, as the body calls on actions of allowance, surrender, and embrace. thenowlater marks itself as the sixth of ten chapters within, A Process Anthology: The Decade from Hell, and the Decade that Followed Suite.
Soon to be charted: Process memoir 6: thenowlater (SOUL) Film Premiere/Watch Party & Fundraiser Launch on January 31st, 5 pm. Event information here.
I want to take a moment to thank you and all involved in Performance Mix #34: Remotely Yours for your support. You were certainly under no obligation to turn the festival around so quickly or at all. Your team was incredibly communicative and helpful in the transition to a remote platform. My collaborators and I are grateful to have had the opportunity to make an offering and to share such a vibrant stage for experimental art making. Thank you.
– Cynthia McLaughlin
New Dance Alliance
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New York, NY 10013