LA POCHA NOSTRA
Live Art Laboratory & Border Research Institute
“The most influential Latino performance art troupe of the last 10 years.” El Pais, Spain.
Founded in 1993 in Los Angeles, La Pocha Nostra is Gómez-Peña’s ultimate and most long-standing project.
La Pocha Nostra is a transdisciplinary arts organization & 501-c3 non-profit that provides a support network and forum for artists of various disciplines, generations, gender complexities and ethnic backgrounds. La Pocha is devoted to erasing the borders between art and politics, art practice and theory, artist and spectator. For 30 years, LPN has intensely focused on the notion of collaboration across national borders, race, gender and generations as an act of radical citizen diplomacy and as a means to create “ephemeral communities” of rebel artists.
La Pocha Nostra’s performance work mixes experimental aesthetics, activist politics, Spanglish humor and audience participation to create a "total experience" for both live and online audience member/reader/viewer. Continually developing multi-centric narratives and large-scale performance projects from a border perspective, La Pocha Nostra creates what critics have termed "Chicano cyber-punk performances," and "ethno-techno art." In the work, cultural borders have moved to the center while the alleged mainstream is pushed to the margins and treated as exotic and unfamiliar, placing the audience members and readers in the position of "foreigners" or "minorities."
La Pocha Nostra’s artwork has been presented at over a thousand venues across the US, Canada, Mexico, Spain, the UK, Germany, Haiti, Latvia, Belgium, Greece, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland, Russia, Australia, South Africa, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela and Argentina. La Pocha Nostra has participated in the following Biennales: Documenta, Havana, The Whitney Museum, Sydney, Liverpool, Thessaloniki and Mercosur, and they performed at the Venice Performance Art Week. The troupe’s photo-performances are now in the permanent collections of Daros Foundation (Zurich), Galeria Artificios (Gran Canaria), the MAM (Mexico City), and the Getty (Los Angeles), among other institutions.
Every year, LPN conducts a summer and a winter performance art school in which La Pocha Nostra's radical pedagogy (a site-specific performance methodology that has been developed during the last 10 years) is shared with large groups of radical artists spanning three generations. The site for this pedagogical adventures changes every year. In 2020 we held our first ever Virtual School of Dreams & Psychomagic over 5-weeks including 36 artists from 10 different countries and culminating in an international live art and film festival online.
2023 CORE MEMBERS ARE:
Guillermo Gómez-Peña (Mexico/US) Artistic Director, Madrina of all things Pochx & Border Bruja
Balitrónica (US/Mexico) Artistic Co-Director, Priestess & Psychomagic Occultist
Balitrónica is a cyborg-feminist poet, performance artist, hereditary witch, 2nd Degree, Cabot Priestess, and co-Artistic director of La Pocha Nostra. Since joining La Pocha Nostra, she has made a full-time performance practice that explores the ideas of ritual psychomagic acts, occult methods of transcendence, and the human body as conduit. In addition to her formal training in musical theater and Victorian literature, she holds an MFA in Poetry from Mills College. Her performance work has been largely influenced by her time spent living in a 17th Century Catholic Convent in Paris with a Dominican Order of Nuns. Balitrónica has been touring internationally with Gómez-Peña since 2013 and currently resides between San Francisco, Mexico City, and the San Diego/Tijuana Border. Track her current projects online here.
Emma Tramposch (US/New Zealand) Executive Director & Curator of the Living Archives
Emma is the Executive Director of international arts organization La Pocha Nostra. Since 2007, she has been working closely with Artistic Director Guillermo Gómez-Peña on programming, writing/editorial work, his living archives and legacy related work. As an arts worker, curator, writer and archivist, Emma has 15+ years of experience producing interdisciplinary art, writing and multimedia projects that re-envision new political imaginaries and center social justice. Emma holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Victoria University (New Zealand) and an MA in Visual and Critical Studies from California College of the Arts (San Francisco). She has written for Art Papers, The Drama Review, Pop Up Magazine, Art Practical and co-edited the Live Art Almanac and Camerawork Journal. Emma is based in San Francisco.
Federico Tello (Mexico City) Manager of Mexican Programs & Operations, Pocha Drag Queen Extraordinaire
Federico, Gypsy & performer, was born in Mexico City in the ‘87, since then he has been crossing all kind of borders and fronteras. Queer, trans spirited, nature lover has being learning about ritual and alchemy from south and north Americas, dancing to the orixas in Brazil and singing to the mountains in Northern California. Creo en la distacia, in parallel lives e na liberdade do espíritu. With the hand en el corazón it’s an honour to work in, protect and transmit the Pocha Nostra’s legacy. Soy testigo de su impacto and the importance of their work not just in the arts but also in the soul of everybody who reach la Pocha’s testimony. I believe in love, I stand for love. Art is and always has been the medicine for humankind. Let’s dance all together and encendámoslo todo.
Saula Garcia Lopez aka La Saula (Mexico/Canada) Manager of Special Nordic Projects & Pedagogical Practitioner
La Saula is a postnational performance artist, scholar, artivist, and performance director. He is a pedagogical DJ for communities of radical differences, a reverse wetback of gender and ethnic bending, and a third world cyborg kitsch. As a conceptual sicario, he enacts psychomagic rituals, social exorcisms, and conceptual cannibalism against colonialism. He trained as a dancer and actor, has a BA in psychology, a PGradDip in Directing, and a BA (Hons) in Drama and Film. He has toured around the world with LPN and has co-written with Gómez-Peña, a new pedagogical book La Pocha Nostra: A handbook for the rebel artist in a post-democratic society (Routledge, 2020)
Currently a visiting professor at the Norwegian Theater Academy and coordinating multiple international projects by LPN and tactically joining for European and Mexico group projects during 2020.
POCHX SATELLITE IS:
Paloma Martinez-Cruz ~ Pochx Literary Consultant & Spanglish Club curator
Micha Espinosa ~ Voice Advisor & Southwest diva
EmaLee Arroyo ~ Film and Media Consultant
Nayla Altamirano ~ Feminist Aztec dancer, Attorney and Legal Consultant
Michele Ceballos-Michot ~ Founding Member, Deviant Balerina and Pedagogue
Gustavo “El Chueco” Vázquez ~ Chicano independent filmmaker
Partner Institutions, organizations & collectives: Norwegian Theater Academy, Dreamocracy in America, Border Narratives Project (NALAC), Hemispheric Institute of Performance & Politics, Live Art Development Agency (London), Public Media Institute & Lumpen Radio (Chicago), The Jane Addams Hull House (Chicago), Smart Museum (Chicago) VestAndPage (Verena Stenke & Andrea Pagnes), Collective Signatures (Francesca Carol-Rolla & Preach), Grace Exhibition Space (NYC), The Ecosexuals (Annie Sprinkle & Beth Stephens), Routledge (Taylor and Francis), 18th Street Art Center & Highways (Santa Monica).
Thank you to our main funders: National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC), San Francisco Arts Commission, Grants for the Arts, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Center for Cultural Innovation & California Arts Council.
OUR COLLABORATIVE PROCESS: Responding to the challenges posed by the pandemic and our new enhanced virtual identities we are initiating a cephalopod like collective model. We are generating new creative “limbs” with multiple production bases across continents and territories. We expand our concentric circle with invited Pocha collaborators who are members and institutions of our community of rebel artists. Our new “Pocha diplomats” would work under the collective Indigenous concept of “tequio” or “faenas” for specific Pocha artistic projects under the principles of reciprocity and accountability.
FOR A LIST OF PAST & PRESENT INHABITANTS OF THE POCHA PLANET PLEASE VISIT OUR POCHA MANIFESTO HERE