1980

At Cal Arts, choreographer Sara-Jo Berman and I form an interdisciplinary arts troupe named Poyesis Genetica (from the Spanish word pollo, a derogatory term for migrant workers, and the Greek genesis). The members are newly arrived immigrant students from Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Canada, bound by a shared sense of cultural displacement. Our objective is "to develop syncretic languages capable of articulating our condition of cultural outsiders and aesthetic freaks" (Poyesis Genetica flyer). Poyesis becomes a revolving door for rebel students.

We develop an artistic strategy of fusing various cultural traditions utilizing performance as a syntactic thread. We mix indigenous rituals from various parts of the world (or rather our romanticized perception of them) with installation and video art, combining sexual and political imagery, personal pathos and pop culture. We perform in art spaces and theatres as well as in the street, and often use live animals on stage. We also experiment with "altered states of consciousness" induced by fasting, alcohol, or lack of sleep. Though extremely important in our development as artists, these performances are more interesting to us than to our poor audiences.

Mexiphobia: Post-revolutionary Situations. I begin to experiment with fear of the Mexican other. My friends and I start showing up at various public places dressed as "typical drug dealers," caricatured "illegal aliens," and stylized "banditos," yet we behave in ways that contradict the stereotypes. Once we show up at a restaurant dressed as "typical Latino terrorists." The place empties out within five minutes of our arrival. I wonder what would happen if I were to recreate this performance today.

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*Radio Free Pocha