"Unplugged," a new spoken word monologue by Guillermo Gomez Pena of La Pocha Nostra Feb. 27

Guillermo Gomez Pena
Guillermo Gomez Pena

Guillermo Gomez Pena, an award-winning Mexican poet, playwright and performance artist whose work explores cross-cultural issues and Mexican-U.S. relations through a mix of media, will perform "Unplugged," a spoken word monologue, on Feb. 27 at 4:30 p.m. in Palmer Auditorium. Open to the public, the free performance is presented by the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology as part of its 2016-2017 Body and Technology Colloquia Series.

Gomez Pena's work explores post-human bodies shaped by the Mexican-American borderlands and the politics of otherness. His performance work and published works have contributed to the debates on cultural and gender diversity, border culture and US-Mexico relations. He will perform as El Mad Mex, one of his many artistic personas.

Spearheaded by its artistic director and performer Gomez Pena, La Pocha Nostra is a San Francisco-based performing arts company. La Pocha Nostra seeks to erase borders between art and politics, practice and theory, artist and spectator, creating performances that speak to the lives of Chicanos, Latinos, and marginalized people throughout the world. La Pocha Nostra performances are highly theatrical and explore techno-shamanism scenarios.

The La Pocha Nostra residency is co-sponsored by the Office of the President; Dean of the College; the Art, Dance, Theater, English and Gender and Women's Studies Departments; and the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE).

"We are thrilled to bring Guillermo Gomez Pena to campus to engage with our community. His work, especially in today's political climate, will reveal controversial notions about culture, race, technology and sexuality as a form of radical democracy and citizenship. Gomez Pena will expose these important challenging issues through his embodied poetry and performance-pedagogy to Connecticut College and the larger community," said the Center's Associate Director of Events Nadav Assor, assistant professor of art.

In "Unplugged," Gomez Pena's latest solo work, "El border brujo" draws from his 30-year-old "living archive" and combines new and classic performance material to present a unique perspective on the immediate future of the Americas. His self-styled "imaginary activism" invokes performance art as a form of radical democracy and citizenship. Combining spoken word poetry, activist theory, radical storytelling and language experimentation, Gomez Pena offers critical and humorous commentary about the art world, academia, new technologies, the culture of war and violence in the US, organized crime in Mexico, gender and race politics, and the latest wave of complications surrounding gentrification in the "creative city."

The first Chicano/Mexicano artist to receive a MacArthur Fellowship, Gomez Pena is the author of ten books that include collections of essays, experimental poetry, and performance scripts.

Contact Libby Friedman, elizabeth.friedman@conncoll.edu

About the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology 2016-2017 Body and Technology Colloquia Series

By the late twentieth century, our time, a mythic time, we are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism; in short, we are cyborgs.

from "The Cyborg Manifesto", Donna J. Haraway, 1985

A good three decades after these seminal words were written by pioneering feminist scholar Donna Haraway, we live at a time in which technology and the body are more deeply intertwined than ever. The 2016-17 Ammerman Center Colloquia Series engages with this field through the work of a diverse cast of artists and performers, manifesting and reflecting on the current multiplicity of relationships between Technology and the Body, and the ways these can shape, enhance or control our lives. From post-human bodies shaped by the Mexican-American borderlands and the politics of otherness, to clone-bodies generated and shaped by science fiction and algorithmic excess, to a collective of singers and machines creating music in harmony with each other, this year's "Body and Technology" colloquia introduces a range of thought-provoking works with a truly multi-disciplinary approach.

The final colloquia event will be media artist Lee Blalock, Adjunct Associate Professor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Blalock will give an artist talk on April 3, 2017, Olin 014 at 4:30 pm. Learn more at leeblalock.com.

February 10, 2017