Reflection: Guillermo Gómez-Peña

Radical Art and the Imagination Nation
from TEDxCalArts: Performance, Body & Presence

“Artists and writers have envisioned a parallel universe in which our contemporaries can engage in meaningful forms of freedom and creativity.”

Guillermo Gómez-Peña is a performance artist, writer, activist, and educator. In “Radical Art and the Imagination Nation”, he examines an art practice, a world, a life beyond boundaries.

“The country I would like to live in only exists in planet poetry, planet performance. Where imagination is the only law, art is part of everyday life, and everyone practices what they believe.”


About the Artist

Guillermo Gómez-Peña is a performance artist, writer, activist, radical pedagogue and artistic director of the performance troupe La Pocha Nostra.

Born in Mexico City, he moved to the US in 1978, and since 1995, his two homes have been San Francisco and Mexico City. His performance work and 21 books have contributed to the debates on cultural, generational, and gender diversity, border culture, and North-South relations.

His art work has been presented at over one thousand venues across the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Russia, South Africa, and Australia. A MacArthur Fellow, USA Artists Fellow, and a Bessie, Guggenheim, and American Book Award winner, he is a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines in the US, Mexico, and Europe and a contributing editor to The Drama Review (NYU-MIT), the Performance Art Week Journal of the Venice Biennale, and emisférica, the publication of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics (NYU).

Gómez-Peña is currently a Patron for the London-based Live Art Development Agency, and a Senior Fellow in the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics.

As of 2020, Gómez-Peña is working with his troupe on multiple reenactments of his “living archives” project, publishing two anthologies, a new enhanced Pocha Pedagogy book (with La Saula), creating a border opera titled “WE ARE ALL ALIENS” (featuring classical concert pianists and Mariachis), and producing a documentary portrait of his beloved troupe in collaboration with filmmaker Amber Bemak.

About TEDxCalArts

TEDxCalArts was curated by Shannon Scrofano, Leslie Tamaribuchi, and Chi-wang Yang, with the assistance of students across CalArts.

TEDxCalArts and the CalArts Center for New Performance is a participant in the A-ha! Program: Think It, Do It, funded by the MetLife Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for the professional not-for-profit American theatre.

TEDxCalArts was created with TEDʼs mission statement in mind: Ideas Worth Spreading. The nonprofit TEDx program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDx events are planned and coordinated independently on a community-by-community basis.