“Imaginary Activism: The role of the artist beyond the art world” — A spoken word monologue by Guillermo Gómez Peña

/// Due to high demand, this performance is SOLD OUT ///

Guillermo Gómez Peña is a performance artist, writer, activist, radical pedagogue and artistic director of the performance troupe La Pocha Nostra. In recent years, he has explored two distinct territories in his solo work: the ongoing rewriting and reenactment of some of his classic performances (he calls this his “living archive”), and writing and testing brand new material dealing with radical citizenship and what he terms “imaginary activism.” In both cases, the artist’s unique format for revealing to an audience the process of creating, languaging and performing material becomes the actual project. It is precisely in his new solo work where his literature, theory, pedagogy & live art come together in a wonderfully strange mix. Not one solo performance is ever the same.

Gómez Peña has spent many years developing his unique solo style, “a combination of embodied poetry, performance activism and theatricalizations of postcolonial theory.” In his ten books, as in his live performances (with his troupe La Pocha Nostra), digital art, videos and photo performances, he pushes the boundaries still further, exploring what’s left for artists to do in a repressive global culture of censorship, paranoid nationalism and what he terms “the mainstream bizarre.” Gómez Peña examines where this leaves the critical practice of artists who aim to make tactical, performative interventions into our notions of culture, race and sexuality. Most recently, he has also been exploring the poetic and activist use of new technologies and social media.

Opening remarks by Prof. Laura E. Peréz, Department of Ethnic Studies
Questions? Check out the Facebook event or email pochaberkeley@gmail.com.

Presented by the Department of Ethnic Studies and the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies in collaboration with the Center for Race and Gender and UC Berkeley’s Arts Research Center. Organized by Marco A. Flores and Stephanie Sherman.

Co-sponsored by the Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley, Asian American & Asian Diaspora Studies, Center for Latino Policy Research, Center for the Study of Sexual Cultures, English Department, Ethnic Studies 5th Account, Gender & Women’s Studies Department, History of Art Department, Queer & Transgender Advocacy Project (QTAP) at Graduate Assembly, Spanish Department, Teatro Project at UC Berkeley and the Townsend Center for Humanities.

Photo credit: Photo by Piero Viti, 2014

Guillermo Gómez-Peña is a performance artist, writer, activist, radical pedagogue and director of the performance troupe La Pocha Nostra. Born in Mexico City, he moved to the US in 1978. His performance work and 11 books have contributed to the debates on cultural & gender diversity, border culture and US-Mexico relations. His artwork has been presented at over nine hundred venues across the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Russia, South Africa and Australia. A MacArthur Fellow, Bessie and American Book Award winner, he is a regular contributor for newspapers and magazines in the US, Mexico, and Europe and a contributing editor to The Drama Review (NYU-MIT). Gómez-Peña is a Senior Fellow in the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, a Patron for the London-based Live Art Development Agency and in 2012 he was named Samuel Hoi Fellow by USA Artists.