NEWS!!! The journey of DOC/UNDOC continues with the publication of a widely accessible, affordable book that not only documents the original project, but also provides a reader with their own interactive, immersive experience. City Lights Books and Moving Parts Press have collaborated to produce a trade paperback LIMITED EDITION of DOC/UNDOC, which includes reproductions of the fifteen prints from the original codex, along with the performance scripts by Guillermo Gómez-Peña embedded in each image. Also included is an Introduction by Felicia Rice that tells the story of the collaboration from its conception to completion. In addition, art historian/critic Jennifer Gonzalez’s essay explains the historical, artistic and political context in which this piece was conceived. The book features the original video and sound art on a usb drive to provide the reader with a fully interactive, immersive experience.
“ . . . the new edition of DOC/UNDOC more than merits a reading. . . . a sequel of sorts to [Codex Espangliensis: From Columbus to the Border Patrol] that extraordinary volume, DOC/UNDOC: Documentado/Undocumented Ars Shamánica Performática constitutes a more thoroughgoing effort to ‘re/imagine the future of bookmaking’ as a collaborative process that encompasses multiple media (‘old’ and ‘new’) and makers. . . . The oversize volume commences with strking, high resolution color photographs of the case opened to display the objects packed inside, as well as the mirrors affixed to it lid. Though you won’t see yourself or your masked personae in these images of mirrors, the edition does elicit less literal forms of reflection—personal and political—facilitated by the bookwork, which take the pains and pleasures of identity formation and transformation as its major subject.”—Jennifer Buckley, TDR: The Drama Review
“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.