1st Edition

Gómez-Peña Unplugged Texts on Live Art, Social Practice and Imaginary Activism (2008–2020)

    364 Pages 97 Color & 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    364 Pages 97 Color & 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    364 Pages 97 Color & 30 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Gómez-Peña Unplugged is an anthology of recent and rewritten classic writings from Guillermo Gómez-Peña, a figure who stands alone as unique and ground-breaking in the history of performance art and as the artistic director of transdisciplinary performance troupe La Pocha Nostra.

    Throughout this collection, Gómez-Peña tackles literature, theory, pedagogy, activism and live art in an eclectic mix that demonstrates how the process of writing is simultaneously a performative exercise in embodied language. The writing stands as a call for action, utilizing what Gómez-Peña terms “imaginary activism” and “radical citizenship”; it invites the reader to embrace a borderless, polygendered, crossgenerational and race-literate ethos. This timely anthology comes straight from the heart of a troubled Trump-era United States and a crime cartel–ridden Mexico. Artists and writers are prompted to engage in radical performance pedagogy within the civic realm and to think of themselves as public intellectuals and “artivists” participating in the great debates of our times.

    By encouraging emerging artists and writers to wildly imagine their practice beyond the normative art world and academia, this book is a fundamental read for scholars and students of performance art, political theatre, cultural studies, literature, poetry, activism and race and gender politics.


    Performance Art, Live or Time-Based Art, Cultural Studies, Experimental Poetry, Multiculturalism, Social Practice, Chicano/Latino/Border Art & Literature, Relational Aesthetics, Public Art, Artivism, Activism, Psychomagic Ritual, Literary Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, Ethnic & Gender Studies, Queer & Women Studies, Post-Colonial Theory, Techno-Art, Cyborgian Studies, Exoticized & Fetishized Identities, Deconstruction Stereotypes & Binaries, Anti-Essentialism, Anti-Nationalism, Radical Citizenship, Anti-Racism, Race & Gender Literacy

    Introductory Texts; 1 Performance Art vs. The "Art World"; 2 Highly Personal Writings; 3 Imaginary Activism; 4 Touring in Times of War and/or Performing Against Racism; 5 On Gentrification and Other Forms of Ethnic Cleansing; 6 Identity Politics Gone Wrong; 7 On the Politics of Language; 8 Philosophical Tantrums; 9 Ending of Book


    Guillermo Gómez-Peña is a performance artist, writer, activist, radical pedagogue and artistic director of the performance troupe La Pocha Nostra. Born in Mexico City, he moved to the US in 1978, and since 1995, his two homes have been San Francisco and Mexico City. His performance work and 21 books have contributed to the debates on cultural, generational, and gender diversity, border culture and North-South relations.

    Emma Tramposch is Managing Director of interdisciplinary arts organization La Pocha Nostra and Curator of the Living Archives. As a producer, curator, writer and archivist she has been working closely with Guillermo Gómez-Peña since 2007. She is based in San Francisco.

    Balitrónica Gómez is a cyber-feminist poet, performance artist, and radical pedagogue. Born and raised on the border of San Diego/Tijuana, she has been touring with Gomez-Peña since 2013 and is a member of his international performance troupe La Pocha Nostra.

    Elaine A. Peña is an Associate Professor of American Studies at George Washington University. Her books include Performing Piety: Making Space Sacred with the Virgin of Guadalupe (2011) and ¡Viva George! Celebrating Washington’s Birthday at the U.S.-Mexico Border (2020).

    William Stark is a lecturer at the University of Rhode Island. He directed La Pluma for Brown University’s Department of Hispanic Studies, and his articles and essays have appeared in publications such as MLA’s Options for Teaching Series; Contextos: Estudios de Humanidades y Ciencias; and Border-Lines, the Journal of the Latino Research Center at the University of Nevada, Reno.

    "The Mad Mex strikes again! Gómez-Peña is more relevant than ever. This anthology is his most recent culmination of critical, poetic, and performance texts dating back to the 1990s. As such, it shines new light on old problems that continue to haunt the "American" imaginary. As a performance artist, poet, shaman, and fearless cultural broker, Gómez-Peña reboots and reframes––in order to uproot and upend––ongoing global and local debates. Personal missives, open letters, critical interviews, and poetic musings on culture, performance, and politics, reveal an urgent and timeless message for any and all readers concerned with the human condition. A must read for artists, educators, politicians, social workers, city planners, hedge fund analysts, and stockbrokers."

     ––William Stark, PhD Visiting Assistant Professor Hispanic Studies, Director of La Pluma, Spanish Writing Center, Brown University

    "He's one of the handful of great performance artists in America today." -Peter Sellars

    "Gomez-Peña's work is among the most powerful examples of intercultural performance." -Richard Shechner, American Theatre Magazine

    "There’s no question that the brilliance of Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s collaborative performance works has to do with precisely this mode of confrontational excess and humor. Ultimately, it’s my "whiteness" (not their colored bodies, displayed on different podiums across the exhibition space) that is on trial."-Amelia Jones

    "Gómez-Peña is magnificent, melodramatic, robustly hilarious and precisely, exquisitely witty...I emerge from his performances somewhat dazed." -Lucy Lippard

    His award-winning solos combine languages Spanish, English, Spanglish, Ingleñol, Nahuatl, wild theatrics and guerrilla satire to convey a new internationalism, a borderless ethos. —Jan Breslauer, L.A. Times

    Gómez-Peña is a wizard of language. —The Chicago Tribune

    "A cross between Oscar Wilde and Lenny Bruce, witty and gritty and brilliant, Gómez-Peña stretches language to the breaking point, coining words and code shifting at will... Anyone interested in contemporary performance theory should read his books. For the rest of us, it is a cultural roller-coaster ride with decidedly satirical seat belts." -Publishers Weekly