An interactive performance by La Pocha Nostra: Guillermo Gómez-Peña Violeta, Luna Roberto Sifuentes (U.S.-Mexico); with Faculty of Liberal Studies Instructor Jessica Wyman, Mark Rush, Gale Allen, Ulysses Castellanos and performance students from York University (Canada).
Since the early 1990s, Mexican performance artist and writer Guillermo Gómez-Peña and his colleagues Violeta Luna and Roberto Sifuentes from the San Francisco-based performance troupe La Pocha Nostra have been exploring the way museums represent cultural Otherness by experimenting with the colonial format of the "living diorama." They have created interactive "living museums" that parody various colonial practices of representation including the ethnographic tableau vivant, the Indian Trading Post, the border curio shop, the porn window display and their contemporary equivalents. These performance/installations function both as a bizarre set design for contemporary enactment of cultural pathologies, and as a ceremonial space for people to reflect upon their attitudes toward other cultures. Recent museum interventions by La Pocha Nostra include the Tate Modern, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, LACMA and the Guggenheim.
As part of their ongoing Mapa/Corpo series, Divino Corpo continues to examine the brown body as a site for radical spirituality, memory, penance, activism, stylized anger and corporeal reinvention. Divino Corpo was premiered at the National Review of Live Arts in Glasgow earlier this year. Posing as living saints and madonnas of unpopular causes (border crossers, disease, the rights of undocumented migrants, sex workers, prisoners, gang bangers, and the displaced invisible Others), the artists create a performative temple where the sacred and the profane intertwine with provocative contemporary issues. They invite audience members to engage in ritualized interactivity and embrace a new form of radical faith - the faith in art as a personal and political transformative force. In the process, the intimate human body becomes the transformative site against a backdrop of global despair and war.
Gómez-Peña, Luna and Sifuentes will be in residency in Toronto from November 2nd to November 8th. This latest presentation of Divino Corpo will take place at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art on Friday November 7th and will feature several Toronto-based performance artists working together with La Pocha Nostra.
All MOCCA programs and activities are supported by Toronto Culture, the Ontario Arts Council, BMO Financial Group, individual memberships and private donations.