Guillermo Gómez-Peña

Visual & Critical Studies Forum
Wednesday, February 11, 2009, 10 am – 12 pm
Boardroom, San Francisco campus

Guillermo Gómez-Peña was born in Mexico City and moved to the US in 1978, where he established himself as a performance artist, writer, activist, and educator. He has pioneered multiple media, including performance art, radio, video, photography and installation art. His eight books include essays, experimental poetry and chronicles in both English and Spanish (and Spanglish).

Most of his artistic and intellectual work concerns the interface between North and South (Mexico and the U.S.), border culture and the politics of the brown body. His original interdisciplinary arts projects and books explore borders, physical, cultural and otherwise, between his two countries and between the mainstream U.S. and the various Latino cultures: the U.S.-Mexican border itself, immigration, cross-cultural identity, and the confrontation and misunderstandings between cultures, languages and races. His artwork and literature also explores the politics of language, the side effects of globalization, “extreme culture” and new technologies from a Latino perspective.

Gómez-Peña is regarded as a pioneer in US Latino and Latin American performance art. Some of his legendary performance art pieces include, Border Brujo (1988), The Couple in the Cage (1992), The Cruci-fiction project (1994), The Temple of Confessions (1995), The Mexterminator Project (1997-99), The Living Museum of Fetishized Identities (1999-2002) and the Mapa/Corpo series (2004-2008) His performances often involve audience participation, elaborate costuming and other collaborators, including Roberto Sifuentes, James Luna, Violeta Luna and Coco Fusco.

Through his organization, the San Franciso-based La Pocha Nostra, Gómez-Peña has intensely focused on the notion of collaboration across national borders, race, gender and generations as an act of citizen diplomacy and as a means to create transnational communities of rebel artists. La Pocha Nostra runs an extremely popular intensive summer performance workshop. Every year it takes place in a different country.