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