Friday, October 13, 2023 from 6:30-8:30 PM
La Pocha Nostra, performance duo Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Balitrónica, is thrilled to present excerpts from their most recent performance manuscripts and bank of ritual actions in The Mex Files: A Divination Ritual.
Utilizing a casino roulette and several tarot decks, Balitrónica utilizes 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.
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 and the spiritual world crises. The performance includes new texts written during the past two years combined with “classics” from Gómez-Peña’s own living archives.
ABOUT GUILLERMO 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.
PARTNERED WITH THE NERMAN MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
This event is co-hosted by the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art at Johnson County Community College (JCCC). 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.
Join the Nerman Museum and others the day after this event, as they celebrate Latine arts and culture at Cultura Fest on Oct. 14, from noon to 6 PM. Activities include workshops, crafts, live mural paintings by artists Andrew Mcilvaine, DinKC, and It-Ra Icons, print making by Viva La Tinta, and a lowrider showcase with selections chosen by the Olathe Leadership Lowrider Bike Club, as well as performances by Los Bailadores de KC, Jessica Ayala, SouLuna, Grupo Folklorico Alma Tapatía, and Kansas City Xtreme Wrestling. Food includes options by JCCC Catering, Taqueria La India, Pink Taco, and paletas provided by JCCC Student Club LUNA.
“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.
At this time in my life I am thinking as much about legacy as I am trying to continually produce socially conscious experimental artwork that is simultaneously plugged into the national debates. I have learned from decades of touring performance material to locations beyond the Border that a call to action – in the form of a work of art – has the power to elicit compassion and inculcate a desire for social justice.
For me performance art is a form of radical democracy and citizenship which depends on the presence of the audience/community to succeed. I view my approach to creating this hybrid piece as “performing the archives” for multiple contexts: The art world, academia, community and the media. 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.”
– Guillermo Gómez-Peña
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.