A Greater Boston native, I'm a professional dancer and award-winning interdisciplinary artist with talents in choreography, filmmaking, art, and graphic design. I'm co-founder and artistic director of Luminarium Dance Company (Boston, MA), art director of Art New England magazine, senior contributor for The Arts Fuse, and am the Boston area dance critic for the international Fjord Review. I recently completed a one-year term as co-chair of the Arlington Cultural Council, and am regularly hired as an arts advocate to speak at events ranging from legislative assemblies at the State House to entrepreneurial panels for students at Mount Holyoke College. This blog serves as a behind-the-scenes peek into the life and journal of an interdisciplinary artist. Learn more at merliguerra.com or luminariumdance.org, and thank you for reading my thoughts on setting the visual and performing arts into motion.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Real Life Re-Synching

A lot of my artwork has involved projecting images onto myself and finding a way to blend in, at times with my own image. The idea of toying with which one is "real" vs "imposed" has kept me visually and mentally captivated for years.

Sadly (or perhaps not sadly) returning home from India this past week, I felt for the first time that I was living inside this artistic paradox emotionally. The trip offered me a chance to find myself again, unhindered by any of the stresses (or joys) of home. Early on it became clear to me that I would not want to leave, and sure enough it was a struggle to accept that I was back in Boston on a Thursday afternoon as if nothing had changed. Same car, same roads, same apartment, same job, same artistic focus...the only thing not the same was me!

For days I felt as though I was living inside one of my films. Trying to line up my body with the projected version set into motion before I left. Trying to feel at home in a place that felt imposed. And feeling a little panic as the week wore on and that feeling of estrangement began to dissipate. What if I don't want to sync back up with the projection? What if I want to reshape it, recolor it... Why is it so difficult to hold onto that feeling of pure escape?

While the film I feel most captivates my re-synching sensation is my award-winning art film Synchronic, it is this experimental short I will share instead, as it shows the same feeling on a less complex/dramatic level.

To create this piece, I filmed my room during the day for 46 minutes, then projected that scene onto the same exact space later that evening. I then entered the film, reliving those 46 minutes, moving in slow motion. It was very trying to complete and took a great deal of patience (and surprisingly enough, stamina) to focus on my slowed motions for what felt like an eternity. To finish, I sped the film up to regular speed, creating a faux world in which the space is falsely daylight and the character's regular motions are offset by her quickened breathing.

In a nutshell, I have been gradually emerging from a world like this since leaving the airport earlier this week, and while it feels calmer to be breathing at the right pace again, I hope I haven't completely lost that restless character I so identified with upon returning home.

Reflective moment of reintegration aside, beautiful stories and photos of my tour to India are certainly coming soon...