Wednesday, September 3, 2014

DOC/UNDOC, sequel to Codex Espangliensis

New Collaboration from Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Felicia Rice, Gustavo Vazquez, and Zachary Watkins

In my upcoming book, I look at the artistic collaboration of Codex Espangliensis for the ways that it appropriates dominant icons such as Mickey Mouse and Superman to critique issues such as globalization and anti-immigrant legislation in California. So I was really excited to hear about the follow up collaboration called DOC/UNDOC. The image below is from the website (
From the description of the project on the website:

"The outcome of a seven-year collaboration, DOC/UNDOC Documentado/Undocumented Ars Shamánica Performática features Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s performance texts and Felicia Rice’s relief prints and typography, accompanied by Jennifer González’s critical commentary. The deluxe edition is housed in a hi-tech aluminum case containing a video by Gustavo Vazquez, an altar, and a cabinet of curiosities. Opening the case triggers light and Zachary Watkins’ interactive sound art.

The two subtitles refer to different aspects of the project’s content:
Documentado/Undocumented ties to the performance scripts embedded in the printed sheets which draw on Gómez-Peña’s immigrant experiences and personal observations of the political, geographic, social and psychological boundaries between the United States and Mexico. The title of the video, it points to a painful dichotomy: “documentado” in Spanish implies being informed, having access to cultural forms and traditions, the histories and rituals that flourish in Mexico. Whereas the term “undocumented” in the United States implies a host of negative stereotypes, including a lack of citizenship, power, rights and knowledge. 

Ars Shamánica Performática speaks of the very personal, transformative experience offered by the book and case, an invitation to “Choose an object, find a poetic way of using it. Reimagine yourself, tell a new story.” Gómez-Peña writes, “Its interactive dimension may be its main contribution to the field of experimental book art, or rather “performative book art.”"

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