1st Edition

La Pocha Nostra A Handbook for the Rebel Artist in a Post-Democratic Society

    288 Pages 50 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    288 Pages 50 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    La Pocha Nostra: A Handbook for the Rebel Artist in a Post-Democratic Society marks a transformation from its sister book, Exercises for Rebel Artists, into a pedagogical matrix suited for use as a performance handbook and conceptual tool for artists, activists, theorists, pedagogues, and trans-disciplinary border crossers of all stripes.

    Featuring a newly reworked outline of La Pocha Nostra's overall pedagogy, and how it has evolved in the time of Trump, cartel violence, and the politics of social media, this new handbook presents deeper explanations of the interdisciplinary pedagogical practices developed by the group that has been labeled "the most influential Latino/a performance troupe of the past ten years."

    Co-written by Guillermo Gómez-Peña in collaboration with La Pocha Nostra’s artistic co-director Saúl García-López and edited by Paloma Martinez-Cruz, this highly anticipated follow-up volume raises crucial questions in the new neo-nationalist era. Drawing on field experience from ten years of touring, the authors blend original methods with updated and revised exercises, providing new material for teachers, universities, radical artists, curators, producers, and students.

    This book features:

    • Introductions by the authors and editor to Pocha Nostra practice in a post-democratic society.
    • Theoretical, historical, poetic, and pedagogical contexts for the methodology.
    • Suggestions for how to use the book in the classroom and many other scenarios.
    • Detailed, hands-on exercises for using Pocha Nostra-inspired methods in workshops.
    • A step-by-step guide to creating large-scale group performances.
    • New, unpublished photos of the Pocha Nostra methods in practice.
    • Additional texts by Reverend Billy and Savitri D., Dragonfly, Francesca Carol Rolla, VestAndPage, Micha Espinosa, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Praba Pilar, L. M. Bogad, Anuradha Vikram, and Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens, among many others.
    • The book is complemented by the new book Gómez-Peña Unplugged: Texts on Live Art, Social Practice and Imaginary Activism (2008–2019).

    Chapter 1 "Pochology" in a Post-Democratic Society; Chapter 2 Soundscapes for Dark Times: A Border Pedagogy for Resistance; Chapter 3 The 2019 Pocha Nostra Manifesto for a "Post-Democratic Era"; Chapter 4 What to Expect from a Pocha Workshop; Chapter 5 Important Notes to Producers and Workshop Facilitators; Chapter 6 Notes to Workshop Participants; Chapter 7 Radical Pedagogy for a Post-Democratic Society; Chapter 8 Performance Exercises, Rituals, and Games to Cross Borders; Chapter 9 With Love from the Trenches: Further Techniques and Reflections from Pocha and our Partners in Crime; Chapter 10 Sound Outs for Radical Inclusion: Poetry and Testimony unleashed by the Pocha Method


    Guillermo Gómez-Peña is a performance artist, writer, activist, and educator. He is the author of 12 books including Ethno Techno (2005) and Dangerous Border Crossers (2000). His classic performance pieces include Border Brujo (1988), The Cruci-Fiction Project (1994), and Mexterminator (1997–1999). He is founder and co-director of La Pocha Nostra.

    Saúl García-López, PhD, is a performance artist, performance director, pedagogue, scholar, and co-artistic director of La Pocha Nostra. His work focuses on performance pedagogy, indigeneity, gender, decolonial theory, and border theory. His performance practice focuses on social shamanic exorcisms, conceptual cannibalism, and psychomagic actions as a passage for decolonization.

    "La Pocha Nostra’s reputation in the performance art world precedes them. They’ve led rebel artist pedagogical workshops internationally under the leadership of Guillermo Gómez-Peña. Their core members have made history with their performances on the entrenched stereotypes surrounding Latino cultures. There is always an overtone of humor and drama in their spectacle. Also, there is always an opportunity for the viewer to get involved, to make a fool of themselves, to reveal their own vulnerability or to refute the performance altogether. Above all, members of La Pocha are image-makers – politicizing the well-known tropes of Latinidad for our Instagram and social media times. The gaze is paramount." - Rashayla Marie Brown, Chicago Performance.

    " Observations of the self as a result of the workshop:

    a. My body felt stronger, with improved alignment and increased flexibility.

    b. Artistically extroverted within two weeks!

    c. Further developed my ability to think in images first.

    d. Improved my ability to improvise and respond to others. Discovered aspects of the self and the personae that lie beneath . . .

    e. More politically conscious.

    f. Further developed my ability to analyze and reflect on what we do.

    g. The gap between art and theory is closing . . . at last!"

    - Workshop participant, Tucson, AZ. 2017

    "La Pocha Nostra’s work mobilizes the striking accusation that the work of an artist is the work of the anticolonial anti-authoritarian feminist revolutionary. Everyone - especially every artist - is implicated in the work of empire, racism, sexism, and homophobia. And it is the artist’s work to critically examine and practice an active resistance. For LPN, it is the staging of images - images of desire, pain, spectacle, stereotype, wickedness, and rage. These images are open to be made with the audience. LPN invites us to look, act, engage, struggle. There is no way out. We are trapped in the image, and trapped to make a decision. This is the work of performance art. By extension, this is the work of LPN." - Sampada Aranke, Art History Professor and Performance Studies Theorist

    "Engaging in such a revolutionary practice, the work of La Pocha Nostra and the pedagogy is to provide containment, to hold a safe, strong, conscious space of Radical Tenderness and fearless exploration and expression, in which we discover and reclaim the borderlands of our primal imagination." - Leni Hester, Participant of Santa Fe Intensive, 2017