“We become the spectacle of our identities using our highly decorated bodies. In this sense we are always, physically, culturally and technologically hybrid beings.” (The Pocha Nostra Manifesto, 2012)
This week we were introduced to La Pocha Nostra and they have really influenced our piece and the way we are creating work. We are interested in creating personas and the idea of a human zoo. All the members in our group have felt like an outsider at some point or someone on the fringes of society, and this is something that La Pocha Nostra focuses on.
La Pocha Nostra are a trans-disciplinary arts organization founded in 1993 by Guillermo Gómez-Peña. They are focused on breaking down boundaries between national borders, and working with artists from all genders, sexualities , races and ages to create groups of rebel artists.
Their book ‘Exercises for Rebel Artists: Radical performance pedagogy’ is filled with numerous exercises to create and explore personas. One exercise for example was to pick another artist in the group and embody their persona, we found this very useful as we could look at our own personas from anothers perspective. It showed us how clear or unclear our performance personas are, and what we needed to improve with them.
Another exercise from La Pocha Nostras book we used was a more personal questioning process. The room was turned into a sliding scale, 1 at one end and 10 at the other to represent strongly agree or disagree. The performers were then asked questions such as ” How culturally diverse are you?” or “How sexually liberated do you feel?” and they stood in the relevant position in the room. This helped to either confirm or deny aspects of our personas and was especially interesting to see how divided or united we were on certain points.
I feel that La Pocha Nostra have helped to push us as artists further. We are have been made to question authority and especially to get angry. Ranting and expressing our anger about global issues can really help.
The Pocha Nostra Manifesto [online article] Available from http://www.pochanostra.com/[Accessed 29 March 2015]
Picture from: http://lapochanostralivearchive.tumblr.com/post/47826895518/corpo-insurrecto-3-0-the-robo-proletariat-pai