Home » Viva La Revolucion! La Pocha Nostra at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art

Viva La Revolucion! La Pocha Nostra at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art

VoCA loved La Pocha Nostra!

In their Canadian premiere, Mexican American performance troupe La Pocha Nostra presented a one-night only performance of Divino Corpo: Temple of improbable and invisible causes at MOCCA in Toronto on Friday night.

Photo: Joshua Meles.

Four scenarios were set up, one against each wall of the museum’s main space in “living dioramas”, slowly moving and occasionally settling into tableaux vivants. Against the West wall the chief – in red feather headdress and long grey hair woven in a loose braid – held court, wearing one motorcycle boot and one black high heel shoe. He sat on a throne flanked by Tom Dean’s life sized bronze hounds. Over the course of the evening, he read a manifesto, gazed into a mirror, was seductively fed a banana by a minion, and threatened to cut a terrified-looking volunteer’s long blonde hair, until the crowd convinced him otherwise.

Against the North wall, a young lady dressed in an unusual getup appeared to mutilate herself, eventually extracting a raw, bloody cow’s heart from her chest, creating a kind of shrine composed of her hair, eyeglasses, and husks of corn, before being bound to a stake with a roll of police ‘danger’ tape.

Photo: Joshua Meles

Self sacrifice was another theme on the East side, where a man sat in an old barber’s chair and applied live leeches to his chest. He would periodically lift his lovely, Gothic-looking, fishnet stocking-clad, platinum-haired assistant upside down in a striking sculptural pose.

A naked woman lay covered with a cloth against the South wall. Two assistants rolled back the cloth and inserted a series of thin needles – each with a national flag attached – along the energy lines of her body. The crowd was then invited to remove the needles.

Photo: Joshua Meles

All the while, a soundtrack of everything from Christmas music to Anthony and the Johnsons underscored all the activities, which reached a theatrical peak with the entire cast kneeling, holding hands in front of the woman bound to the stake. In all, the performance was intended to “parody various colonial practices of representation including…the Indian Trading Post, the border curio shop, the porn window display…”

According to the artist statement, “these performance installations function both as a bizarre set design for contemporary enactment of cultural pathologies and as a ceremonial space for people to reflect upon their attitudes toward other cultures.”

Photo: Joshua Meles

The performance offered an appropriate metaphor for the struggles of Canada’s First Nations people, too, who must feel that they are being forced into self-sacrifice for the sake of Western culture. It was a visually intense, perfect backdrop against which to consider much of the overwrought, high-conceptualism that is so fashionable in today’s art world.

Read more on La Pocha Nostra right HERE.

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