Performance Artist

I-LAND X-ISLE – Latai Taumoepeau

Sydneysiders and visitors to the Harbour City can explore the impact of climate change on island communities through this large-scale performance installation by Tongan Islander, Latai Taumoepeau. Large blocks of ice, suspended using traditional Tongan architectural lashing techniques for binding, will draw connections between melting ice glaciers and rising sea levels. Lanai says that she attended the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali in 2007, and thereafter decided to “extend the voice of our invisible pacific people through my artistic practice.”

 In her own words… “My name is Latai Taumoepeau, I am a performance artist with a new performance installation campaign called i-Land X-isle. It is about the impact of climate change on vulnerable indigenous communities from the arctic to coastal low lying islands. My body will be bound by rope to a 2 tonne block of ice to parallel the experience of already impacted people of human induced climate change to a form of water torture, that is imposed by developing countries. It will be live and a durational performance over 2 days.

I humbly invite you… to use my public art spectacle as a platform to raise wider awareness of communities already impacted by human induced climate change and instructions of how ordinary citizens can change to minimise and cease harm to Australia’s nearest coastal neighbours all the way to the Arctic.”

Faka’apa’apa Atu (with respect), Latai Taumoepeau

When: 26 & 27th May 2012

Time: 10am – 12noon & 2pm – 4pm

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art – Circular Quay Sydney. 

(outdoors on the forecourt).

Border Art in the War On Difference

El Mexterminator

When Sam presented The Trailer Trash Project at the Arts in the One World Conference (Jan. 27-29) he heard  Guillermo Gómez-Peña give the keynote talk.   We thought you might like to read more about this extraordinary performance artist, poet, playwright and teacher.

In the border region between the United States and Mexico who are the insiders and who are the outsiders?    Guillermo Gómez-Peña puts borders – between people of different nationalities, ethnicities, religions and sexual preferences – at the center of his work. This “stubborn Aztec hipster” plays with some of the iconic images that invade our subconscious and feed our fears.  His personas include a Narco-Dandy, El Mexterminator  and San Poncho Aztlaneca, a shaman/saint from an unknown border region.

Earlier pieces explored the loneliness of the immigrant experience in the United States.  While still a student at CalArts he wrapped himself in a batik cloth and lay down on the floor of an elevator.  Another time he dressed as a homeless Mexican and begged for food. (No one stopped.)

The human body is often used as a metaphor for the body politic.  In the Mapa Corpo Series, performed with Violeta Luna and an acupuncturist, he re-created a ritualistic sacrifice in which members of the audience were invited to help stick needles topped with flags into Luna’s naked body.  The piece is a statement against the War On Terror which Gómez-Peña calls “the War On Difference.”

Using his artistry, wit, intellect and considerable compassion, Gómez-Peña invites us to examine the transgressions of western society and overcome our fear of the other.

In a seven-hour workshop held at the conference,  he gave the participants a suitcase full of simple props, telling them to improvise.  “Think of it as a performance jam,” he said. “Performance artists jam just like musicians.”

Next he invited the group to transform each other into icons representing the sacred and profane.  With an eccentric selection of music playing while the actors got into character,   he likened the exercise to a cabaret where the audience is invited to participate:  “Think of it as an obscure German lounge bar  where the images connect in a common theme.”

At the end of the workshop he encouraged aspiring performance artists to create “a borderless ethos,” experimental laboratories for change where divisions between outsiders and insiders begin to fade away. “The way forward requires hospitality across the divide,” he said.

Participants emerged with huge smiles on their faces. CalArts multimedia artist Mersiha Mesihovic said she felt the workshop changed the way she would approach her work in the future.  Dancer Lindsey Lollie agreed, adding she hopes to attend the International Summer Workshop in Oaxaca, hosted by Gómez-Peña’s troupe, La Pocha Nostra.

( Merisha and Lindsey collaborated on another AOW performance, “On The Subject Of Freedom,” which you can read about by clicking this link.)

Sidebar: “On The Fear Of the Other”

do you hear the police sirens? beautiful, eh?

Ammmeeeeeeerica, what a beautiful scary place to be

but then living in fear is normal for us

we are all scared shitless of the immediate future

by the way, are you scared of me?

of my accent, my strange intelligence,

my obnoxious capability to articulate your fears?

an articulate Mexican can be scarier than a gang member

que no?

are you scared of my moustache?

my unpredictable behavior?

my poetic tarantula,

my acid politics,

my criminal tendencies,

my tropical diseases,

my alleged ancient wisdom?

my shamanic ability to exorcise the evil out of white people,

yes or no? que si que no; que tu que yo

’cause I’m scared of you,

of your silence pinche mustio

your silence makes you really scary

& the distance between you and I makes it even worse.

For more on GGP’s workshops, see this link .  For resrouces, check out La Pocha Nostra’s bookstore. See also this article, “Disclaimer:  Notes on the death on the American artist,” from In These Times (May 19, 2006).

[1] Reprinted in Dangerious Border Corssers. (200: 61) 

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from as part of our CSPA Supports Program.


Performance Market | 21-24 January 2010

Deadline for applications 5pm, Monday 23 November 2009

Call for artists from all disciplines interested in developing performance elements in their work

Artists (including students) from Devon and Cornwall are invited to make a proposal for Performance Market. Internationally acclaimed performance artist Marina Abramović will select seven artists to develop a site-specific durational performance work around Plymouth City Market. The aim of Performance Market is to support emerging performance practices and selected artists who will have the opportunity to take part in workshops and surgeries to develop their idea. 

Presented by Plymouth Arts Centre and the Marina Abramović Institute for Preservation of Performance Art in collaboration with the Live Art Development Agency. Performance Market is part of the symposium and exhibition The Pigs of Today are the Hams of Tomorrow, presenting new live durational performance works at The Slaughterhouse, Royal William Yard in Plymouth.

Deadline for applications by email: 5pm Monday 23 November 2009.
If you are unsure if your work is eligible please feel free to contact us. 
Find out more about how to apply or contact Caroline Mawdsley, Education and Outreach Curator

Performance Market is devised by Helen Pritchard and Caroline Mawdsley.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Interspecies – artists collaborating with animals

2-4 October 2009, open 11am-7pm admission and all events free

An exhibition, live event, symposia and family day at

A Foundation London
Rochelle School
Arnold Circus, London, E2 7ES for details and booking
This event was also in Manchester in March, see more about that by clicking here.

How do humans and animals relate to each other? In The Arts Catalysts’ Interspecies exhibition and event, seven international artists have created a range of work that explores this complex relationship. From live experiments that allow visitors to communicate with fish to a video work that explores the age-old affiliation between falconer and falcon, Interspecies brings together a number of artists working with animals and explores the boundaries of our interaction. Curious about the animal’s point of view, the artists challenge the dominant human viewpoint and aim to work in collaboration with other species.

The family day on Sunday 4 October will give families a chance to see artists in contact with real animals – like performance artist Kira O’Reilly who will be Falling asleep with a pig, called Deliah, and Antony Hall whose Enki Experiment 4 invites visitors to communicate with an electric fish.  During the afternoon, parents and children can take part in a series of free events.

Interspecies is organised by The Arts Catalyst in partnership with A Foundation.

The Arts Catalyst commissions artists and curates exhibitions which explore contested issues in science and society


Friday 2 October

6pm, Exhibition tour with curator Rob La Frenais

7–9pm, Symposium: Non-Human Primates with Patrick Munck, collaborator with Nicolas Primat, Rachel Mayeri and Sarah Jane Vick, primatologist. Limited spaces, please book online.

Saturday 3 October

1-3pm and 3.30-5.30pm, Primate Cinema: How To Act Like An Animal. Two workshops with Rachel Mayeri for over 16s exploring the social dynamics of non-human primates through performance.  Limited spaces, please book online.

2pm, Tour of ENKI experiment 4 with Antony Hall

3–6pm, Symposium: Animals, Humans and Power (BSL interpreted) with Antennae editor Giovanni Aloi, Photographer Karen Knorr, Helen Macdonald, writer of Falcon, Ruth Maclennan and Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson. Limited spaces, please book online.

6pm, How to Act Like An Animal performance

Family Day – Sunday 4 October

2–4pm Becoming Bowerbirds. These intriguing birds show unusual creativity – they construct bowers which they decorate with found objects to attract females. Children and parents are invited to be a Bowerbird for the afternoon with artist Sally Hampson.  Advanced booking advisable at (Children 5yrs or under need to be accompanied)

2pm, 3pm and 4pm, Interspecies Tales by poet and storyteller Shamim Azad.  Shamim’s work uses aspects of the Asian folk and oral traditions, enlivening traditional stories with chant and body movement, poems, percussion instruments, tabla and songs.

4.30pm, Animal Handler’s Tales, broadcaster and trainer of the owls used in the first Harry Potter movie, James Mackay talks about his work as ‘The Animal Man’ with exhibition curator Rob La Frenais.

Admission free to all events. Accompanied children and families welcome. Unfortunately, dogs cannot be permitted.

Physical access to some parts of the exhibition and events is limited; please contact for further information

For images and more details, please contact Jo Fells, 07977 226187,