Imaginary Activism: The Role of the Artist Beyond The Art World, a Spoken Word

unnamed (7)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.


September 4, 2015 at 7:00 PM
Durham Studio Theater, UC Berkeley
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