1979

The Loneliness of the Immigrant. Part I. I decide to spend 24 hours in a public elevator wrapped in batik fabric and rope, a metaphor for a painful birth in a new country, a new identity as "the Chicano," and a new language, intercultural performance. It's my first performance "documented" by the art world.

The Loneliness of the Immigrant Part II. I spend 12 hours lying on the downtown LA streets as a Mexican homeless person. Despite the fact I am wrapped in a serape and surrounded by candles, most people ignore me. I discover that as a Mexican (and a "homeless" person), I am literally invisible to the Anglo Californian population. Performance is my strategy for becoming visible.

I am trying to find my place and voice in a new country. One evening, I bring my audience to the edge of Interstate 5 and scream at the cars to "stop and save me from cultural shipwreck." When I am first busted by the California police for "looking suspicious" - in other words, for being Mexican - my response is to make a performance in which I burn a photo of my mother while screaming at the top of my lungs, "Madre, hazme regresar a la placenta! [Mother, bring me back to the womb!]".

Spanglish Poetry Reading in a Public Bathroom. For a whole day, I sit on a toilet and read epic poetry aloud, describing my journey to the US. My audience is composed strictly of people who want to piss, shit, or wash their hands. Through these types of experiments, I become interested in the notion of performing for "involuntary audiences."

5_lg

directional
*Radio Free Pocha