• Recipient of 2022 Individual Artist Grant

    My friend and collaborator Kristen Gallagher and I are excited to announce that we’ve received a New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) Artist Grant for 2022, sponsored by Union Docs (UNDO).

    This $10,000 award will support our collaborative project, An Exercise With Objects: 30 short experimental videos, each featuring a single lantern slide from the archives of Visual Studies Workshop (VSW) in Rochester, NY, along with original writing inspired by the slide.

    Lantern slides are transparent photographs printed onto glass and viewed with the aid of a magic lantern, an early image-projection technology probably most famous for its use in 18th- and 19th-century Phantasmagoria or horror-tale theater. Our project takes up the lantern slide as an object, exploring the slides’ construction, design, material, and function, as well as their incorporation into archival and institutional frameworks.

    We started this project back in 2020, just before the pandemic hit, and we’re bringing it to completion next year with an enhanced ebook that includes the videos, the texts, and other supporting materials.

    Our plan is to promote the project with a tour of screenings and performances in Spring/Summer 2023. If you’re interested in booking us, please get in touch!

    We are especially excited to be sponsored by Union Docs (UNDO), a center for documentary art that supports experimental media-makers and contemporary documentarists. Many thanks to UNDO and NYSCA for their generous support of our project.

  • Lantern Slide Collaboration in Air/Light Magazine, Issue 3 (Summer 2021)

    Title: 199-41 Clam (backwards)
    In early 2020, Kristen Gallagher and Tara Nelson began a collaboration concerned with mining the large, underexplored collection of lantern slides at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York, where Nelson is an archive curator.

    The process works like this: Each month, Nelson chooses a slide (sometimes because an image strikes her, sometimes in response to a chance-based guideline from Gallagher, such as “row 1, shelf 1, box 5, slide 20”). Once Nelson shares the image, Gallagher has two weeks to write a brief response and record herself performing it. Nelson then makes a short film featuring both the slide and Gallagher’s soundtrack. It’s all quick and dirty, against perfectionism. The intention is to continue the series until every slide in the collection has been included—a goal that neither artist will live long enough to accomplish.

    “199-41 Clam (backwards)” is the third slide in this collaborative series.

  • Meet the Artist: The Expanded Cinema Practice of Tara Merenda Nelson

    Meet The Artist: The Expanded Cinema Practice of Tara Merenda Nelson
    Thursday, July 29 2021 | 6 pm | VIRTUAL EVENT LINK to recording of the talk

    The term ‘expanded cinema’ describes the integration of multiple forms of media to create a non-traditional cinema environment. Drawing from this rich legacy, Tara Merenda Nelson’s (b. 1975) practice as an artist incorporates analog and digital film projection, still and moving-image sculptures, live soundtracks, and interactive film performances on multiple projectors. MAG is presenting the exhibition “FourMats,” which includes two multimedia installations by Tara, on view from May 28 through August 8. The exhibition will be complemented by an online curated program of films by Tara in dialogue with filmmakers that influenced her such as Rose Lowder and Helga Fanderl.

    This program will take place on Zoom.

    Live captioning will be available.

  • FourMats exhibit at MAG Tinkers with Time

  • FourMats at Memorial Art Gallery May 28 -August 8 2021

    FourMats at Memorial Art Gallery
    FourMats was conceived by the artist as a performance to be run for short periods of time.
    The exhibition is activated during the following hours:

    Thursdays: 4 pm-8 pm
    Saturdays: 1 pm-4 pm

    During the remainder of the time, a digital version of the projected installation is on display.

    Tara Merenda Nelson’s (b. 1975) handmade cinema is not about showing the world as it is but about offering a cinematic encounter with that world. Through her work, she emphasizes audience participation, the spaces where the films are projected, and the devices involved in the projection process:

    “I am interested in identifying how we perceive images and give them meaning, and how that perception is affected by the light that carries the information and the darkness between the frames, which I consider to be the space of imagination.”

    FourMats, Nelson’s exhibition in MAG’s Media Arts Watch gallery, includes two multimedia installations that combine four formats—16mm film, super 8 film, slide film, and HD video—to construct a single image. End of Empire is a vertical puzzle-like image of the Kodak tower in downtown Rochester, and Moon projects a square composition of the celestial body. Both works are an inquiry into perception and projection, using iconic imagery to reveal the distinct visual qualities of each projected format. To this end, the projection devices are a crucial part of the display.

  • Poetry of the Everyday: Super 8 Film program at Memorial Art Gallery

    Poetry of the Everyday July 19-31 2021
    Poetry of the Everyday is a selection of short films by Rose Lowder, Tara Merenda Nelson, Helga Fanderl, and Anne Charlotte Robertson. Featuring travelogues, portraits, and diary films, this virtual program highlights a personal practice of filmmaking rooted in intimacy and observation. All the titles are shot on Super 8, the smallest of film formats, which registers images that invite viewers to engage more deeply with the texture, grain, and density of each frame. These poetic films approach the world from a personal point of view, using the camera as a mechanism for self-discovery.

  • Review of Poetry of the Everyday in Cinefile

    Poetry of the Everyday (Experimental)
    Streaming through July 31 for free on the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester website here
    Written by Josh B Mabe for Cinefile: Chicago Guide to Independent and Underground Cinema (July 23-26 2021)

    Programmed in conjunction with an in-person cinematic performance by Tara Merenda Nelson at the University of Rochester, this online screening is centered on several of Nelson's highly-personal Super 8 pieces and other films from masters of the miniature format. These small-gauge films command big emotions and themes of death, mental illness, and radical upheavals both personal and political. Jonas Mekas' oft-quoted ideological little ditty is sung in the heart of each of these films: "I live—therefore I make films. / I make films—therefore I live. / Light. Movement. / I make home movies—therefore I live. / I live—therefore I make home movies." Rose Lowder's BEIJING is a bit different from her venerated dynamic nature films. This one is more diaristic in nature, showing the everyday occurrences of the capital city shortly before the 1989 protests. Some of her single-frame dances still appear, but she takes a much more observational tone rather than her regular intensely investigative. Nelson's FLYING FISH is a tender domestic portrait of her pregnant sister with gorgeous colors and sun dappled bodies and poetic editing rhyming birds in the sky and children's toys. Nelson's 43 STREET TREELAPSE is a simple and clever black-and-white, triple-screen cataloging of the homes on her block as a way of orienting herself in her new home. For those unfamiliar, Helga Fanderl is an absolute master of the Super 8 form. Since the 80s she has been making very brief Super 8 films of beguiling, gentle mystery and rattling power and rhythm. Fittingly for the theme of the program, the four films shown here (LEOPARD; MÄDCHEN/GIRLS; THE COLOR RUN 3’18; and IM SCHNEE/IN THE SNOW) are of the former harmonious variety. Nelson's SNOW is film documenting time the filmmaker spent under painkillers resting in the hospital after a surgery. The film is blurred in vision by the effect of the drugs, blurred in content by the frosty outside weather, and blurred in form by the hand-processing and scratched text. All those hazy layers add up to an oddly incisive film about disorientation and healing. Anne Charlotte Robertson's FIVE YEAR DIARY, REEL 31: NIAGARA FALLS, AUGUST 19–28 is a chunk of her massive diary project that most deeply echos Mekas' previously mentioned lines about the unwaveringly intertwined activities of art and life. Robertson lived with mental health issues for most of her adult life and died in her early sixties from cancer. For her, creating film and living were indistinguishable and her films are ravishing testaments to both. Ending the program on an elegiac note, Nelson's LAST DAY OF CAPRICORN is a reflective and mournful film made in tribute to Robertson shortly after her death. (1983-2014; approx. 71 min) [Josh B Mabe]

  • Lantern Slide Collaboration with Kristen Gallagher

    Featured in the in the Distāntia Remote Reading Series, March 2021

    Df A5: The Plant

  • SENSE HER performance at Squeaky Wheel's Anti-Valentines Erotica Show

    I am excited to be invited to present my live Super 8 Stag performance, SENSE HER, at Squeaky Wheel's Anti-Valentine's Erotica Show on February 17th!


  • BABYSTORM to be included in Season 3 of Delete TV

    DeleteTV, a curated selection of international video art intended for broadcast television, will include BABYSTORM in its upcoming 3rd season.

  • October 9, 2015: Screening and Discussion with Jennifer Montgomery at Murray Guy Gallery

    Notes on the Death of Kodachrome by Jennifer Montgomery and End of Empire by T&G Nelson at Murray Guy Gallery

    Both Montgomery and Tara Nelson will be present for a post-screening discussion. The artists will reconsider the issues attendant to the passage of analogue film into the born-digital era.

    Part of Two Serious Ladies: Peggy Ahwesh and Jennifer Montgomery at Murray Guy Gallery

  • January 7, 2012: NOW WHAT at Microscope Gallery

    I will be performing my dual projection Super 8 film, In China, at Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn as part of their NOW WHAT program.

    film, video, new media, & moving image performances
    presented by Microscope Gallery
    at our neighbors, Running Rebel Studios:
    6 Charles Place, Brooklyn NY 11221
    general admission $8
    students (with ID) $6

    It’s a New Year, now what!

    Microscope is very pleased to present now what, a night of screening & moving image performance curated from an international open call. The 3 programs include a wide-range of mostly new and recent works from established to emerging artists working with Super 8mm or 16mm film, digital video, video games, appropriated footage (from Youtube, Google & other sources), music video, performance and more. The night also features 5 live projection performances, most presented for the first time including multi-screen, live sound, multiple projectors, and dance.
    Link to Microscope website


    Filmmaking spouses Tara and Gordon Nelson present an extensive selection of their Super-8mm and 16mm films, in a program that encompasses quadruple projections, sound performances, live editing, audience interaction, found-footage dance parties, and other extraterrestrial surprises. Hailing from the celluloid paradise of Pittsburgh, and currently residing in Boston, they have created a body of work, both separately and together, that explores the many ways in which Super-8mm and 16mm film can document, manipulate, and transfigure reality. Given their embrace of performance and happenstance, no two shows are ever alike – prepare to be dazzled!

    Link to Facebook invitation


    Live sound performance by TAPS: Brendan Murray and Christopher Strunk followed by 16mm and Super 8 Films by Tara and Gordon Nelson

    Link to Facebook invitation

  • 2012 Flaherty Seminar

    June 16 – 22, 2012
    Colgate University, Hamilton, New York

    I will be attending the Flaherty Film Seminar from June 15-22 on an emerging filmmaker fellowship from the LEF Foundation




    Filmmaking spouses Tara and Gordon Nelson will screen a selection of their original Super 8 and 16mm films. Quadruple projections, sound performances, live editing, audience interaction, found footage dance parties and other extraterrestrial surprises will be featured.
    Tara and Gordon hail from the celluloid paradise of Pittsburgh, and currently reside in Boston.

    Super 8 and 16mm films shown on multiple projectors, live sound


    Tara Merenda Nelson was one of three Jurors in the 2012 Milwaukee Underground Film Festival.

    MUFF 2012 Website


    April 19, 2012
    Boston based filmmaker, lecturer and teacher Tara Merenda Nelson will present a talk on CINEMA BIOLOGY: The physiological connection between human perception and the mechanism of projected celluloid cinema.

    Using her interactive cinematic installation, Catharsis, as a demonstration tool, Tara will approach a deconstruction of the mechanism of projected celluloid cinema and its unique physiological effect on human perception.

    On Catharsis:

    A Catharsis is the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, especially through certain kinds of art. I have chosen this term as the title for this piece because it represents a breakthrough for me in the process of pursuing the location of the imagination. It is a film-less film with no set duration which can be viewed in 3 layers: while standing in front of the floating screen; while sitting behind the screen, facing it; and from a sitting position while facing the projector with eyes closed. The latter position gives the viewer the opportunity to experience a film made with their own mind, which only they can see.

    facebook invitation


    April 17, 2012
    Eye and Ear Clinic is pleased to welcome Tara Nelson and selections from her eclectic collection of work. This program will include a generous mix of Super 8, 16mm, multi-projection, live editing and more delights from the multi-verse! Tara Merenda Nelson is a Boston-based filmmaker, curator, and installation artist. Her work has been exhibited in galleries, museums, basements, and backyards through the United States and across the globe at venues including the Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art Miami, The New York Film Festival's Views From the Avant-Garde, and the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston.

    facebook invitation

  • THE SUPER EIGHTIES: Super 8 Films from the 1980's

    Super 8 Films from the 1980’s
    Curated by Tara Merenda Nelson
    Contact: 412-512-2553

    Saturday, April 14, 2012
    SPECTACLE gallery
    128 Brookside Ave in Jamaica Plain
    LIVE DJ DANCE PARTY after the screening!

    Featuring films by: Saul Levine, Ericka Beckman, Tom Roades, Anne Robertson, FASTWURMS, Joe Gibbons, Peggy Ahwesh, Jennifer Montgomery, Eldon Garnet, Edie Steiner and more!

    The decade of the 1980’s was a transformative era for Super-8 filmmaking, as the format migrated from point-and-shoot home movies to a medium for artists working in the moving image. Many filmmakers began their careers working in Super 8, using second-hand cameras and Kodachrome film bought and processed at the local drugstore. In most major cities, film labs were ready to process and print Super-8 films for distribution. Super-8 sound film was readily available and frequently used, giving the format a voice and adding great depth to many films made during the era

    The cultural audacity of the decade was well documented by filmmakers, who used Super-8 to bear witness to, and comment upon, the era. Music, fashion, media and pop culture strongly influenced the work of many artists, as they explored issues of identity in an age of abundance. This confluence of technology and aesthetics resulted in a radical film movement.

    Despite the popularity of the medium, the last Super-8 camera was manufactured in the late 1980’s, and the rest is history.

    THE SUPER EIGHTIES celebrates films made between the peak and the precipice of a unique era in Super-8 filmmaking.

    The screening will be followed by a live DJ dance party!!!

    Curator Tara Merenda Nelson is a Boston based filmmaker and teacher.