Performance Artist Roundtable


Photo/foto: Julio Pantoja

This roundtable offered an opportunity for discussion with - and between - selected performance artists who presented work at this Encuentro. These artists reflected upon their own process and production, and commented on the relationship of their work to the larger themes of the Encuentro. Wilson Díaz presented a retrospective of his visual arts work, which reveals recent Colombian struggles with violence and drug trafficking. His images related to natural coca leaves contrast with cocaine, its derivative chemical drug that engenders violence. Rocío Boliver performed an act of ventriloquism to make an artist statement, and to share her ideas about fear, pain, and excess as ways to challenge the establishment. Tania Bruguera explained how her ‘behavior art’ functions locally and internationally, and what contradictions are implied when an artwork is transplanted to a different context. Guillermo Gómez-Peña shared the difficulties he has in explaining his work as a performance artist (an often misunderstood practice), and the role of the body in decolonization mechanisms. One of the central points of the following Q&A discussion was Bruguera’s polemic piece, in which she distributed cocaine among audience members inside the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (without the consent of the Encuentro organizers). Part of the audience regretted the fact that her highly controversial performance replicated the circulation of drug money and violence that Colombia is currently suffering.This round table provided a space for discussion and dialogue about the artist’s ethics and responsibility, and the complexities of the relationship between performance and politics.


Rocío Boliver, La Congelada de Uva, has been active in the art world for the past ten years. She began her career as a performer in 1992 with a reading of her porno-erotic texts, directing her criticism toward the repression of women.

Tania Bruguera is a political artist who works primarily in behavior art (arte de conducta). Her work explores the role of the audience in performances and the relationship between ethics and desire. In 2002 she created the Cátedra Arte de Conducta, the first center in Havana dedicated to the study of political art.

Wilson Díaz is a founding member (1998) of Helena Productions. He has been a professor in the Visual Arts departments at Universidad del Valle (Cali), Conservatorio de Bellas Artes de Cali, and the Universidad de Cauca (Popayán) a various times between 1996 and 2003.

Guillermo Gómez-Peña is a performance artist/writer and the director of the transnational arts collective La Pocha Nostra. He was born in Mexico City and came to the U.S. in 1978. Since then he has been exploring cross-cultural issues with the  use of performance, multilingual poetry, journalism, video, radio, and installation art.

Marlène Ramírez-Cancio is an interdisciplinary artist from Puerto Rico who co-founded and co-directs Fulana, a Latina video collective based in New York City. She is currently Assistant Director of Arts & Media at the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. She received her MFA in Creative Writing in Spanish in 2010 from New York University's Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

Background Information
  • Encuentro Location (Bogotá) : Auditorio Virginia Gutiérrez, Edificio Posgrados Ciencias Humanas, Universidad Nacional de Colombia
  • Date: 29 of August, 2009
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