The title of this work references Merzbau, a 1930s installation by Kurt Schwitters, in which the collage artist gradually turned eight rooms of his apartment into a three-dimensional collage. As this obsessive process ("merzing") was an ongoing activity for Schwitters, visitors would sometimes return to find that personal effects they'd left behind had been subsumed into the structure.

Imagining the precise and totalizing aspect of Merce Cunningham's style as a kind of "Merce-ing," Merce-bau borrows Schwitters' language of collage and containment to reflect on the programmatic and at times unforgiving nature of Cunningham's choreography. Merce-bau emphasizes varying degrees of individual latitude within an artist-designed structure, evoking both the frustration and generative quality of creative constraints.

Mercebau was produced with Sarah Cecilia Bukowski (dancer and collaborator) at ODC, as part of a residency with the Hope Mohr Dance Bridge Project on the Merce Cunningham centennial.