Ethno-Techno: Writings on Performance, Activism and Pedagogy by Guillermo Gómez-Peña

By Guillermo Gómez-Peña

Guillermo Gómez-Peña has spent a long time constructing his particular type of performance-activism; his theatricalizations of postcolonial thought. In Ethno-Techno: Writings on functionality, Activism and Pedagogy, he pushes the bounds nonetheless extra, exploring what is left for artists to do in a post-9/11 repressive tradition of what he calls 'the mainstream bizarre'. Over forty-five pictures rfile his inventive experiments and the textual content not just explores and confronts his political and philosophical parameters; it bargains groundbreaking insights into his, and his company's, equipment of construction, improvement and educating. the result's a rare and encouraging glimpse into the lifestyles and paintings of 1 of the main bold, leading edge and not easy functionality artists of our age.

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I found that once you cross the border you could never really go back. Whenever I tried, I always ended up “on the other side,” as if walking on a Moebius strip. My ex-paisanos on the Mexican side of the line made a point of reminding me that I was no longer “a true Mexican,” that something, a tiny and mysterious crystal, had broken inside of me forever. After five years of “returning,” in their minds I had forgotten the script of my identity. Even worse, I had “shipwrecked” on the other side (Octavio Paz used this loaded metaphor in a controversial essay that once angered the Chicano intelligentsia).

Mexico has never been the same. Nor have US–Mexico relations. Zapatismo forced Mexico to reflect on its unrecognized plural identities and multiple crises. The country’s endemic economic distress and racial divides were framed in the context of a call for democratic process: For “a place at the table for all Mexicans,” not just those affiliated with the oligarchic structure that had ruled the country for so long. The Zapatista lesson was crystal clear: Democracy in Mexico could only exist if we acknowledged and incorporated its forbidden diversity.

24 IN DEFENSE OF PERFORMANCE Once the performance is over and people walk away, my hope is that a process of reflection gets triggered in their perplexed psyches. If the performance is effective (I didn’t say good, but effective), this process can last for several weeks, even months. The questions and dilemmas embodied in the images and rituals I present can continue to haunt the spectator’s dreams, memories, and conversations. The objective is not to “like” or to “understand” performance art, but to create a sediment in the audience’s psyche.

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