“The book invites us to consider an ongoing tension as we navigate a world of politics and appearance, racism and immigration, self and other.”
—Jennifer A. González
The outcome of a seven-year collaboration, DOC/UNDOC Documentado/Undocumented Ars Shamánica Performática features Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s performance texts and Felicia Rice’s relief prints and typography, accompanied by Jennifer González’s critical commentary. The deluxe edition is housed in a hi-tech aluminum case containing a video by Gustavo Vazquez, an altar, and a cabinet of curiosities. Opening the case triggers light and Zachary Watkins’ interactive sound art.
The two subtitles refer to different aspects of the project’s content:
Documentado/Undocumented ties to the performance scripts embedded in the printed sheets which draw on Gómez-Peña’s immigrant experiences and personal observations of the political, geographic, social and psychological boundaries between the United States and Mexico. The title of the video, it points to a painful dichotomy: “documentado” in Spanish implies being informed, having access to cultural forms and traditions, the histories and rituals that flourish in Mexico. Whereas the term “undocumented” in the United States implies a host of negative stereotypes, including a lack of citizenship, power, rights and knowledge.
Ars Shamánica Performática speaks of the very personal, transformative experience offered by the book and case, an invitation to “Choose an object, find a poetic way of using it. Reimagine yourself, tell a new story.” Gómez-Peña writes, “Its interactive dimension may be its main contribution to the field of experimental book art, or rather “performative book art.”
This edition of sixty-five signed and numbered accordion-fold books is made up fifteen original relief prints letterpress printed by Rice at Moving Parts Press. Disks of Vazquez and Gómez-Peña’s video collaboration and Watkins’ sound art accompanied by a pamphlet with essays by González and Rice are housed, along with the book, in a clamshell book box by Craig Jensen of BookLab II. Of these, a deluxe edition of fifteen books rest within unique aluminum cases, each containing a mirrored altar and a cabinet of ritual curiosities. Opening the case lights the altar and triggers Watkins’ sound compositions, while flashing buttons within bring up specific compositions.
For a deep look at the entire piece,
visit the online exhibition of DOC/UNDOC at the Museo Eduardo Carrillo.