Guillermo Gomez-Pena, â€œEthno-Cyborgs and Genetically Engineered
In the mid 90â€™s, when the artworld went high-tech overnight, the debates about the
human body and its relation to new technologies dramatically polarized the
experimental arts community and particularly the performance art milieu.
The artists of “Apocalypse Culture” responded viscerally to these debates by adopting
a radically primitive stance, attempting to reclaim the body as a site for pleasure,
penance and pain, and to “return” to a fantastical and imaginary neo-tribal paganism,
very much in the tradition of US anarchist “drop out” culture.
My colleagues and I tried to explore other possibilities by infiltrating virtual space as
â€œcyber-immigrantsâ€ (Web-backs) and smuggling subversive ideas as conceptual
Our goal is to politicize the debates around digital technologies and to infect virtual
space with Chicano humor and linguas polutas (such as Spanglish).
We work under the rambunctious title of â€œThe Ethno-Cyberpunk Trading Post &
Curio Shop on The Electronic Frontier.”
We titled our new performance project Mexterminator, referencing the superhuman,
robotic assassins of the Schwarzenneger movies.
Our goal was to incarnate the intercultural fantasies and nightmares of our audiences,
refracting fetishized constructs of identity through the spectacle of our â€œprimitive,â€
eroticized bodies on display.
The composite personae we created were stylized representations of a non-existent,
phantasmatic Mexican/ Chicano identity, projections of peopleâ€™s own psychological
and cultural monsters — an army of Mexican Frankensteins ready to rebel against
their Anglo creators.
Armed with mysterious shamanic artifacts and sci-fi automatic weapons, our bodies
enhanced with prosthetic implants and their brown skin decorated with Aztec tattoos,
we hyper-sexual â€œethnocyborgs,â€ clothed in high Tex-Mex/gangster-rap regalia, both
defied and perversely incorporated every imaginable Hollywood and MTV
stereotype, every fear and desire secretly harbored in the fragile psyches and hearts of
My performance accomplices and I created complex personae that reflected these
constructs, refracted through our own particular â€œrobo-baroqueâ€ aesthetics.
Sponsored by Mexican drug lords, the Zapatista comandancia, Chicano radicals, and
MTV, â€œweâ€ — the indestructible cyber-mojados — had already succeeded in
occupying the US of Aztlan.
We were the flesh and blood incarnation of Americaâ€™s millennial fantasies about
immigrants from the South, Latinos from the inner cities, pagan sexuality, indigenous
witchcraft, and the Spanish language.
What the audience ended up experiencing during the performance was a stylized
anthropomorphization of its own post-colonial demons and racist hallucinations, a
kind of crosscultural poltergeist.
Are you into tattoos, jalepeÃ±os, and ethno-porn? Are you into sexy Tex-Mex art that
does not question your privilege? Do you wish to experience a political peepshow?
Do you desire to smell or touch a live Mexican?
El Mexterminator premiered in Mexico City in March 1995 under the working title
of “The Museum of Frozen Identity.” When the audience arrives in the lobby or
entrance of the performance space, they encounter a written or prerecorded text
outlining the metafictional premise of the performance:
The nation-state has collapsed. The ex-US of A has fragmented into a myriad microrepublics loosely controlled by a multiracial junta, and governed by a Chicano prime
minister named Gran Vato.
The Tortilla Curtain no longer exists.
Spanglish is now the official language. Panicked by the New Borders, Anglo militias
are desperately trying to recapture the Old Order.
The performance space is filled with fog and dramatically lit to suggest a Blade
Runner-in-Tijuana type of world, inhabited by hyper-racialized replicants and ethnocyborgs.
Dead feathered chickens hang from the tall ceiling at different heights. A (fictional)
black and white documentary of â€œthe Second US/Mexico warâ€ is projected onto a
Costumed as a pop mariachi diva with a fake mustache and sequin-embroidered miniskirt, Sara appears as â€œLa Cultural Transvestite,â€ an androgynous figure who
gleefully acts out Anglo-Americaâ€™s myriad cultural, spiritual and erotic fantasies
about â€œromantic Mexico,â€ shamelessly impersonating tragicomical Mexican bandits,
dancing Adelitas, and masked Zapatistas.
Against a backdrop of projected images that make up a condensed history of Mexican
stereotypes in American Television, movies and cartoons, I display myself as
immigrant superhero â€œEl Mad Mex,â€ a transgender Tex-Mex shaman on a custommade lowrider wheelchair with chrome fenders and a seat made out of fake leopard
Other cyborgs that have been featured in different versions of the Mexterminator
â€œLa Supreme Chicanaâ€ (Isis Rodriguez), feminist superheroine and defender of the
rights of sex workers
â€œLa Morra Diabolicaâ€ (Violeta Luna), a deranged teenage schoolgirl who tortures
blond dolls, pisses on stage, and obsessively injects herself with hypodermic needles
â€œEl Paramilitary Samuraiâ€ (Yoshigiro Maeshiro), a Supernintendo mercenary who
practices crossdressing and Aztec Karate
â€œEl True Illegal Alienâ€ (Juan Ybarra) a naked green extraterrestrial who moves like a
Butoh dancer on speed, incarnating Anglo-Americansâ€™ fears of invasion by beings
from an alien (cultural) planet.
Audience members are encouraged to interact with these replicants â€œat their own
risk.â€ They are instructed that they can feed us, touch us, smell us, massage us, braid
our hair, take us for walks on dog leashes, or point prop weapons at us.
Many parallel and complementary projects have developed alongside the
Mexterminator installation. Often, before or after a performance, the ethno-cyborgs
make unannounced appearances at local museums, restaurants, bars or malls. The
ethno-cyborgs have also invaded the realms of video and radio.
Unlike Anglo high technology, which is hi-function, Chicano robotics are
purposeless . . . but full of humor.
Iâ€™ve got a virtual reality bandana with which Anglos can have a direct experience of
racism without having to suffer its social and physical consequences. With my VR
bandana I also get transported into very realist 3D environments that approximate
places where I am normally not allowed as a Chicano; like Beverly Hills, or Madison
I tell you: the software is amazing. The Chicano VR is so pinche realistic that I am
usually the only non-Anglo person in the program. But if it gets too rough in
cyberspace, I touch the â€œdeleteâ€ button and ipso facto return â€œhomeâ€ to the barrio. Itâ€™s
And of course, we always enjoy confronting peopleâ€™s fears of otherness. Everyday,
when we leave our UDMB techno-coffin, we instantly become public personas;
walking metaphors; living border artworks.
We are like living dioramas, posthuman artifacts. We are like human-size paper-cut
At one point the audience doesnâ€™t know anymore if they are watching the Mexicyborgs, or watching their own projections, or watching themselves watching the . . .
The audience gets to objectify us, and then we objectify them back. The process of
exo-ti-za-tion goes both ways, like the process of borderization of the U.S. and
Yes, Mexicans are aliens; or better said, weâ€™re just partially human, as it was proved
in the documentary, The Great Mojado Invasion; Yes, we are indestructible; and Yes,
soon we will outnumber Anglos in the Southwest. In other words, we are mere blank
screens for people to project their inner monsters.
The total anonymity of the Internet allows for the surfacing of forbidden or forgotten
zones of the psyche. Besides, there are no moral, physical, or social repercussions in
cyberspace, and this can be quite liberating. Especially for white people.
Digital technology has allowed us to create a new millennial mythology of the Latino
â€”the Indigenous and the Immigrant â€œOther.â€.
The nation-state will collapse in 2000, immediately after the Second U.S./Mexico
War, which, in fact, Mexico will win. The ex-U.S.A will fragment into myriad microrepublics loosely controlled by a multiracial junta, and governed by a Chicano Prime
The White House will become the Brown House.
Our presence here is a foreshadowing of the inevitable future. The global
Mextermination Project is an example of the future official hybrid culture. Our
performances/installations present real-life posthuman specimens as well as unique
archeological artifacts, which are both residues of our dying Western civilization, and
samples of an emerging Nueva Cultura, a culture in which the margins have fully
occupied the center.
We are the Chilicon Valleyâ€™s tech-illa network, a rare glimpse at the webback
undergroundâ€™s real agenda. We are all ethno-cyborgs. Check out 60 year-old TV
hostess & Venezuelan Extreme Beauty Queen Viviana de la Medianoche, with her
designer body rebuilt from zero in Tijuana clandestine clinics; inflatable chichis,
removable ribs and voice change activator.
We the children of El Frankenstein
W/our rrrobotic jalapeÃ±o joystick enlargement methode
W/our 1960’s melanina pills still sold in Cuernavaca and Acapulco for â€œinstant racial
Our liposuctioned peyote graphics engine
Our mojado scuba technology
Our carne asada eating ebola bacteria
Our digital cockroaches and burrito powered robo-raza slowly corrupting your default
According to a spokesman from the Michoacan Institute of Technology(MIT): “Latinos are
currently interested in what (we) term ‘imaginary’ or ‘poetical’ technology. Its premise is as
follows: Since most Latinos donâ€™t have access to new technologies, we imagine the access. All
we have is our political imagination and our humor to interject in the conversationâ€¦ It’s an
imaginary act of expropriation.â€
Ever heard of nacho chips? Well, that happens to be the code name for our nano-EPROM-chips–
that’s right, tortilla co-processor wafers made in TJ/Taiwana and East Japangeles.
We eat it all, de tocho! We can assimilate “low” or “high.” Our diet includes everything from
crappy calculators, “Target” ionizers, and wrist/phone watches ( refurbished Aztechnology), to
sound systems with fake fancy brands “made in Tepito” & mas y more hydraulics for our hipreco â€œlowrides.â€
Also in the 50s, Mexican wrestler hero and alternative scientist El Santo made several movies in
which he clearly anticipated the Internet, lap-top computers, web cameras, see-you see-me
systems and Chicano performance art.
Then in the 60’s, Chicano scientists from the MichoacÃ¡n Institute of Technology (MIT) working
in clandestine garages throughout the US Southwest developed amazing hydraulic robotics for
lowrider cars, which in retrospect make American robotics, from Moravec to SRL, frankly,
frankly look naÃ¯ve.
In 1999, Americans were arming themselves in record numbers, preparing for the Y2K blackout
to be protected from looters, riots, anarchy, you know, brown people. At the same time,
Subcomandante Marcos was named by Wired magazine one of the top 10 techno visionaries of
our era. If you canâ€™t escape from Latinos in the privileged final frontier of cyberspace, where can
The following warning has been circulating throughout the net by cyber-terrorism watchdog
â€œVirus Alert!! Warning!! Do not open any email sent to you if the “subject” is in any language
you do not understand” Spanish, French, Spanglish, Frangle, IngleÃ±ol…Opening these messages
may corrupt your fragile sense of personal and national identityâ€¦ If you have recently pointed
your browser at any web site with Latino content: Zap Net, Virtual Barrio, Inter-Neta.com, LatiNet, Salsaparagringos.net, Chihuahuas.com –a subsidiary of Taco Bell Incorporated, Ricky
Martinâ€™s Menudo unplugged Page, Pocho Magazine, Pochanostra.com, or any other “Latino”
web site…you may be already infected.
NSA virus researchers at the Pentagon are calling this new Silicon infection QuetZalcoat-82L or
simply â€˜The Mexican Bug.â€™ The dreaded Michelangelo virus â€˜96 and the RTM virus are harmless
compared to the Mexican Bug.
Like a cucaracha gang of microbites this “programa” loiters at seemingly non-threatening Latino
webs: Rock en espaÃ±ol music sites, high ethnic crafts, el Carne Asada without Meat Club, vegan
burrito recipes, and sexual tourism information pages, detecting and targeting gringos with an
innocent fascination for ethno-exotica.
Soon after visiting these sites you receive a â€˜friendlyâ€™ looking e-mail, announcing a nice
Mariachi Festival or advertizing a Salsa theme cruise to Baja. When you open it, a cute talking
Chihuahua in a poncho and a pink sombrero appears on the screen and delivers the following
message with a thick sabroso Spanish accent:
There is no moral, physical or social repercussions to your actions in cyberspace. Digital
technology has finally allowed us to create an inoffensive millennial mythology of the Latino,
the Indigenous and the Immigrant Other. We are part of this new mythology. We are meant to
cater to your most intimate fears and desires. ”
Tonight from my multiple repertoires of hybrid personas, I have chosen to come as
the embodied psyche of an existentialist mojado.
Itâ€™s quite a challenge my dear friends for Iâ€™ve been stripped by airport security of all my robobaroque paraphernalia my ethno-technobilia ye-ye.
Which means, no more hand-made lowrider prosthetics, no mariachi robotic bodywear,
no cheesy fog machines, no hanging dead chickens, nothing not even a voice-effect processor to
help me get rid of my accent.
Itâ€™s Chicano minimalism, a contradiction in terms but hell, I am a walking contradiction
& so are youâ€¦
Welcome to my borderzone to the cities and jungles of my language. Welcome to the colonized
territory of your psyche.
My tattoos are like scars on my psyche, insects in the page, countries in my biographical map.
My tattoos are like scripted words as opposed to my scars which are like unscripted sentences
in the open book of my body My 46-year-old brown body, densely covered with Spanglish
poetry unedited stillâ€¦
Dear audience, Iâ€™ve got 45 scars, half of them produced by art. This is not a metaphor.My artistic
obsession has led me to carry out some flagrantly stupid acts of transgression including:
Living inside a cage as a Mexican Frankenstein
Crucifying myself as a mariachi to protest immigration policy
Crashing the Met as El Mad Mex
Led on a leash by a Spanish dominatrix.
Drinking Mr. Clean to exorcise my colonial demon
Dear perplexed students,
Repeat with me out loud: MÃ©xico es California, Marruecos es Madrid, Pakistan es Londres,
Argelia es ParÃs, Cambodia es San Francisco, TurquÃa es Frankfurt, Puerto Rico es Nueva York,
CentroamÃ©rica es Los Angeles, Honduras es New Orleans, Nicaragua es Miami, Chiapas es
Irlanda, Ramallah is East LA
Dear orphans of the nation/state,
We now live in a fully borderized world
composed of virtual nations,
transnational pop cultures & hybrid races.
& all we share is fear & vertigo
fear of the future, of love, disease & loneliness,
of total disenfranchisement.
The feeling of standing on the edge of a new millennium.
Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?
Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.
Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.
Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.
While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.
Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.
In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.
Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.
We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!
We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.
Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.
We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.
Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.
There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.
Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.
We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.
You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.
We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.
You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.
Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.
Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.
You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.Read more
Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.Read more
Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.Read more
Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.Read more
By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.Read more