Meryl Murman
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LAB: Borrowed Trauma

LAB: Borrowed Trauma

Is empathy something that can be exercised through simulation?

To what extent can we use our bodies to connect with experiences we did not have, but learn about through images?

Borrowed Trauma is a movement research project that explores corporeal access to shared memory and human empathy through media. Conducted through a series of laboratories in different parts of the world with dance makers, image makers, healers, and media professionals, it challenges the thresholds of our what our bodies can experience through simulation.

Via an interplay of gesture, movement, media, oral expression and conversation, it reflects on our culture’s inherent visual media bias, while simultaneously exploring and experimenting with ways for the body to uncover and understand that which is left out of the frames of an image narrative.

What is the trauma of popular media on the body? And how can we access and challenge the body’s ability to deconstruct and comprehend the depiction of trauma in popular media?

The research is both a collection of approaches to reconnecting with the body and voice in a visually biased culture, and an exploration of gesture, movement, mimicry and embodiment as a practice of awareness and communication based on a desire to confront otherness with physical understanding

Using body literacy to examine the complex relationships surrounding the reenactment of other’s suffering in sensationalized media images we fix the lens on the performance of the human body.

When is it /is it ethical to embody someone else’s suffering? …and what is there to be gained through the literacy of reading these images in the context of dance?

 Photo Credit: Daryl Getman Dancers: Yanina Orellana, Julian Martinez

Photo Credit: Daryl Getman
Dancers: Yanina Orellana, Julian Martinez

Borrowed Trauma is a movement research project that explores corporeal access to shared memory and human empathy through media. Conducted through a series of laboratories in different parts of the world with dance makers, image makers, healers, and media professionals, it challenges the thresholds of what our bodies can experience through simulation.

Via an interplay of gesture, movement, media, oral expression and conversation, it reflects on our culture’s inherent visual media bias, while simultaneously exploring and experimenting with ways for the body to uncover and understand that which is left out of the frames of an image narrative.

What is the trauma of popular media on the body? And how can we access and challenge the body’s ability to deconstruct and comprehend the depiction of trauma in popular media?

The research is both a collection of approaches to reconnecting with the body and voice in a visually biased culture, and an exploration of gesture, movement, mimicry and embodiment as a practice of awareness and communication based on a desire to confront otherness with physical understanding

Using body literacy to examine the complex relationships surrounding the reenactment of other’s suffering in sensationalized media images we fix the lens on the performance of the human body.

 Photo Credit: Sam Ernst Dancer: Alan Perez, Calvin Rowe

Photo Credit: Sam Ernst
Dancer: Alan Perez, Calvin Rowe

Borrowed Trauma research project and movement laboratory has been conducted in the following:

ImpulsTanz International Dance Festival in Vienna Austria IDOCDE Symposium  2016
IZOLYATSIA Residency in Kiev Ukraine 2018
FIX-in Art Thessaloniki Greece 2016
Prospect 4 New Orleans 2018
CalState Long Beach department of Dance 2017
Tulane University department of Dance 2017

Credit to my colleagues Rebecca Crenshaw, Gregory Dorado, Colin Myers, Tarren Johnson whom have worked with me on different aspects of this research.