Friday, May 15, 2009

STRANGE DEMOCRACY: An Evening with Guillermo Gómez-Peña

One of the (many) great things about Pittsburgh is it's vibrant art community. The Mattress Factory is fortunate in that we partner fairly regularly with some pretty amazing sister organizations to bring equally amazing artists and performances to town. One such partnership is the upcoming collaboration between ArtUp, Bricolage, the Three Rivers Arts Fest and the Mattress Factory to bring La Pocha Nostra to Pittsburgh for a series of performances and educational workshops.

There are a number of events happening around town in association with the partnership, all of which can be found HERE (.pdf after the jump). But naturally, we're most excited about STRANGE DEMOCRACY: An Evening with Spoken Word Brujo Guillermo Gómez-Peña, which happens here at the MF on Sunday evening, 5/31. (Add to FaceBook)

Guillermo Gómez-Peña (Photo by Zach Gross)
Guillermo Gómez-Peña photographed by Zach Gross, 2007

In his new solo-performance, STRANGE DEMOCRACY, post-Mexican writer and performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña deals with the end of the Bush era and articulates the formidable challenges facing Obama. He also denounces the anti-immigration hysteria and assaults the demonized construction of the US/Mexican border—a literal and symbolic zone lined with Minute Men, rising nativism, three-ply fences, globalization, and transnational identities.

To this effect, the "border artist extraordinaire" uses acid Chicano humor, hybrid literary genres, multilingualism, and activist theory as subversive strategies. Shifting between languages, Gómez-Peña morphs into various performance personae and bombards audiences with his infamous, border savvy techno-ideology, ethno-poetics and radical aesthetics. In this journey to the geographical and psychological outposts of Chicanismo, Gómez-Peña also reflects on identity, race, sexuality, pop culture, politics and the impact of new technologies in the post-911 era.

Gómez-Peña continues “to develop multi-centric narratives from a border perspective,” creating what critics have termed "Chicano cyber-punk performances" and “ethno-techno art.” During these performances cultural borders move to the center while the alleged mainstream is pushed to the margins and treated as exotic and unfamiliar, placing the audience members in the position of "foreigners" or "minorities in his performance country.

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