“Multiple Journeys: the life and work of Gómez-Peña” invokes text and historical photographs to chronicle the performance art practice of post-Mexican writer, artist and activist Guillermo Gómez-Peña. By tracing his family life as well as his past 30 years in performance, visual and literary forms, the artist discusses his work in context to the larger evolution of the field as well as to the main political and social events of the times.
For three decades, Gómez-Peña has been exploring border culture, immigration, intercultural issues, “extreme culture” and new technologies, with the use of mixed genres and experimental languages. Gómez-Peña has contributed to the cultural debates of our times staging legendary performance art pieces such as, “Border Brujo” (1988), “The Couple in the Cage” (1992), “The Cruci-fiction Project” (1994), “Temple of Confessions” (1995), “The Mexterminator project” (1997-99), “The Living Museum of Fetishized Identities” (1999-2002) and the “Mapa/Corpo” series (2004-2008).
Gómez-Peña’s work in multiple genres (performance, installation, critical writings, video, photography and pedagogy) is based in the strong belief that consciousness can be influenced by, and stimulated to grow through, non-traditional presentational arts formats. This belief has been at the core of his life’s work, beginning with his experience as a young immigrant graduate student in the California Institute of the Arts (1978-82), continuing with his co-founding of San Diego’s Border Arts Workshop (1985-1990) and Santa Monica’s Highways Performance Space in the late 1980s, and culminating in the co-founding of his current company La Pocha Nostra in San Francisco (1995) to present day.
For the past year, with the help of La Pocha Nostra’s project coordinator and archivist Emma Tramposch and other colleagues, the artist has been going through the process of cataloging his extensive personal collection of original photographs, slides, videos, audio-art, books and ephemera documenting his interdisciplinary arts practice. In the process they have come across unique historical materials that lend perfectly to this form of artistic and educational presentation. In keeping with the hybrid spirit of his work, he has translated his archives into a one-hour performative audio-visual lecture titled: “Multiple Journeys: the life and work of Gómez-Peña.”