project: The indigo kid.
(Johnnie's Current Solo Practice)
The indigo kid is a on-going solo practice based on personal questioning and exploration. Using duality, audience veer-ship, and communal acceptance as impetuses, Mercer engages both personal and outer expectation to further understand himself in relation to performance.
"I find myself at the mercy of others, and at times at the
mercy of their eyes. It’s not one day that I do not think on the idea of being showcased, being forced to show my culture, my blackness, show my queerness, and present myself and my work as a package. While my white counter-parts are acknowledged for experimentation on self, and are encouraged to drop inward; I find myself in creation somewhat bullied into entertaining by means of outward exploitation. I feel like a coon. I feel contained by the preconceived expectation of the black body on the western stage.
This containment has led me toward questioning the history of the very stage I am presenting on, hence motivating me to create and explore not only who I am, but also rejecting who you see me as. It has become an artistic and personal goal to resist the construct of how I explore my blackness and how it is performed. In my process I am engaged in the practice of trance as a way of falling into internal questioning to explore inwardly- testing the expectations of my black body in any given space. Before understanding what it meant to perform on a concert stage, I experienced the joy of vogueing in a club, praise dancing at church, singing with family. Not once during that period (with an audience or not), did I feel constricted. I felt free.
How do I remember the joy of moving within my black self? How do I use the stage space as a space of kinesthetic black exploration ignoring and pushing past the expectation of performing?"
Press: Directors Choice Review
Press: The Making of Modernities