Cultural and Transcultural Transgression at the Border: “Art is about Misunderstandings that Happen at the Borderzone”, Guillermo Gómez-Peña

By Shahrzad Mahootian and Dana Cole.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Guillermo Gómez-Peña is a Chicano performance artist, writer and activist
known for multidimensional performances where he taunts, tempts, thrills, embraces and excludes his audience His goal is to blur pre-established borders whether they be linguistic, ethnic, cultural,gender-based, geographic or artistic in nature, in order to create cross-racial, multicontextual societies while underscoring the realities of the marginalized community.

In this presentation we show how Gómez-Peña communicates his visions by
utilizing hybrid languages, complex costumes and personae, and culturally
symbolic props intended to demonstrate the complex, fluid, and liberating nature of a borderless society. Sounds, symbols, languages, and musical genres are mixed in new combinations to create color and texture in an otherwise static monolingual monochromatic world. Through his performances, Gómez-Peña forces his audience to confront their fears and biases and obscures the line between art and life, object and subject, participant and observer. He dares us to hear, see and feel a hybrid, multi-centric way of life that absorbs change and differences rather than marginalizing it.

Keywords: Transcultural, Border Culture, Chicano, Performance Art, Linguistic

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.181-192. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.252MB).

Dr. Shahrzad Mahootian

Professor, Department of Linguistics, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Shahrzad mahootian is a professor of linguistics at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. Her research interests and publications are in the field of language contact, bilingualism and issues of language and identity in multicultural contexts.

Dana Cole

Graduate Student, Department of Linguistics, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Dana Cole is a graduate student at Northeastern Illinois University. Her research interests are bilingualism and border cultures.


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