About the Project...

El Mexican't as Naftazteca
In this collaborative performance/installation commissioned by DiverseWorks, NPN, Rice University Gallery , and MECA, artists Guillermo Gómez-Peña, James Luna and Roberto Sifuentes deal with the multiple roles of the artist at the end of the century. The performance artists reveal to the visitor the transformation processes that go from the realm of the personal to that of the public; and from ritual space to cyberspace.

For 5 days, during special gallery hours, the artists live/perform inside the DiverseWorks gallery. As visitors move through the gallery space, they find a dressing room area where the artists apply make-up and change costume and a simulated "high-art" museum" area where the artists' props and personal artifacts as well as various folk and pop cultural objects are carefully displayed as aestheticized museum pieces (objects and their labels will change daily.) Finally, visitors arrive at a "human exhibition area" where the artists display themselves as exotic "cultural specimens" and performance artists at work. Each day the artists will transform themselves into a different performance persona. (Some of these persons will be designed by the imagination of Internet users.) Sifuentes will have a video camera to capture details of Gómez-Peña and Luna's transformations. These images will be shown simultaneously on monitors, as well as transmitted live to the Internet using CUSeeMe software. These monitors will also show B-movies with racist depictions of Indian and Mexicans, as well as trashy TV shows (evangelical preachers, the home shopping network and local newscasts.)

On November 14, the "Shame-man" will be replaced by local artists and adventurous audience members who will get to wear Luna's costumes and become "a real Indian" for a period of time. (Those who wish to audition should contact Diverse Works at 228-0914.) On November 16, Gómez-Peña and Sifuentes will stage a public action in the city. Parallel to this process, and across the gallery space, Sifuentes will exhibit himself as "CyberVato", a living diorama of a highly technified "gang member" consumed by techno-gadgetry and what appear to be real weapons. He has state of the arts technology via which he can transmit daily messages to the web, and will be connected to the satellite sites (MECA and Rice Gallery) via video teleconferencing. Internet users who visit our world wide web page are invited to send in images and texts revealing how they fell (or wish) Mexicans and Native Americans should look, behave, and perform in the 90's. The written desires and images of the Internet users will be shown at Diverse Works on monitors manipulated by the CyberVato. These techno-interaction will continue throughout the run of the show... (http://riceinfo.rice.edu/CyberVato/)

Crafted by the artists on site, the messages will include political statements (on Proposition 187, immigration, NAFTA, the Zapatista movements, the state of the arts in American, local community issues, etc.) bilingual poems, famous speeches rewritten by the artists, texts transmitted throughout Latino Net, ArtsWire, chicle, and other virtual communities.

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Last Updated 1/4/96