Gómez-Peña + Balitrónica, International Performance Art Week, Venice, Italy 2014 (Photo by Piero Viti)
KANSAS CITY, MO, OCTOBER 6, 2023: In collaboration with the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art on the eve of the Cultura Fest, transdisciplinary artist collective La Pocha Nostra presents The Mex Files: A Divination Ritual, happening Friday, October 13, 2023 at the Charlotte Street Stern Theater (3333 Wyoming St). Led by the performance duo Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Balitrónica, The Mex Files is a spoken-word duet and “live-action juke-box” that utilizes a casino roulette, tarot decks, and various forms of oracular magic to select spoken word texts and props for Gómez-Peña’s live performance. The fate of the script and the performance are determined by methods of divination, chance, and direct contact with the spirits that be.
Founded in 1993 in Los Angeles, La Pocha Nostra is a performance art troupe devoted to erasing the borders between art and politics, art practice and theory, artist and spectator. Featured in Hyperallergic and PBS Newshour, La Pocha Nostra create what critics call “Chicano cyber-punk performances,” and “ethno-techno art.” The Mex Files includes new texts and “classics” from Gómez-Peña’s own living archives. In this new project, the artists are unplugged, thinking out loud and articulating the challenges and possibilities of reinvention in the midst of multiple pandemics & the spiritual world crises.
Gómez-Peña writes, “My new performance represents the fruit of my life’s work in all its iterations: live performance, lecturing, archiving, literary work, mentoring, community activism, all coming together to address the dangers of the times we live in with its disregard for human life and insidious undermining of democracy[…] I am particularly interested in connecting with a new generation of audience members who may not have been exposed to the history of my generation, performance art and the Chicano movement.”
The Mex Files: A Divination Ritual is co-hosted by the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art as a part of the Cultura Fest happening October 14, from 12-6 PM, celebrating Latine art and culture in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Learn more about the festival programs and schedule here.
To schedule an interview or for other press inquiries, contact Hope-Lian Vinson, Charlotte Street Marketing + Communications Manager, at [email protected].
ABOUT GUILLERNMO GÓMEZ-PEÑA
Guillermo Gómez-Peña is a performance artist, writer, activist, filmmaker, radical pedagogue and artistic director of the performance troupe La Pocha Nostra. Born in Mexico City, his performance work and 21 books have contributed to the debates on cultural, generational, and gender diversity, border culture and North-South relations. His art work has been presented at over one thousand venues across the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Russia, South Africa and Australia. A MacArthur Fellow, USA Artists Fellow, and a Bessie, Guggenheim, and American Book Award winner, he is a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines in the US, Mexico, and Europe and a contributing editor to The Drama Review (NYU-MIT). Gómez-Peña is a Patron for the London-based Live Art Development Agency, and a Senior Fellow in the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics.
Balitrónica is a cyborg-feminist poet, performance artist, hereditary witch, 2nd Degree Cabot Priestess, and co-Artistic director of La Pocha Nostra. Since joining La Pocha Nostra, she has made a full-time performance practice that explores the ideas of ritual psychomagic acts, occult methods of transcendence, and the human body as conduit. In addition to her formal training in musical theater and Victorian literature, she holds an MFA in Poetry from Mills College. Her performance work has been largely influenced by her time spent living in a 17th Century Catholic Convent in Paris with a Dominican Order of Nuns. Balitrónica has been touring internationally with Gómez-Peña since 2013 and currently resides between San Francisco, Mexico City, and the San Diego/Tijuana Border.
ABOUT NERMAN MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
The Nerman Museum serves as a cultural leader, facilitating deeper understanding of our world and contemporary issues through their exhibitions and permanent collection. Their collection focuses on international, national, and regional contemporary artists, with an emphasis on diverse practitioners and educational access. In addition to gallery spaces within the Nerman Museum, over 300 works from the collection are installed across campus, integrating art into the daily lives of the JCCC campus community as well as greater Kansas City area residents and visitors.
ABOUT CHARLOTTE STREET
Charlotte Street centers Kansas City’s most forward-thinking visual artists, writers, and performers—acting as the primary incubator, provocateur, and connector for the region’s contemporary arts community, and its leading advocate on the national stage. Since 1997, Charlotte Street has distributed over $2 million in awards and grants to artists and their innovative projects, and connected individual artists to each other and to the greater Kansas City community. For more information about Charlotte Street, its awards, programs, and initiatives, visit www.charlottestreet.org.
View Press Release as a PDF here.