Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Performance Art, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Coco Fusco, Violeta Luna, Roberto Sifuentes, La Pocha Nostra, Transculturation

Major Advisor

Dr. Guillermo B. Irizarry

Associate Advisor

Dr. Jacqueline Loss

Associate Advisor

Dr. Laurietz Seda

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Transcultural Performance Art, Political Intention, and the Aesthetic Projects of Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Coco Fusco, Violeta Luna, Roberto Sifuentes, and La Pocha Nostra

William R. Stark

University of Connecticut, 2018

This dissertation analyzes socio-cultural and socio-political concerns that characterize performance art in the United States (U.S.) from the late 1980s to 2015. Of particular interest to my research are performance artists who cross cultural borders and challenge normative cultural paradigms, celebrate cultural hybridity, and challenge the epistemological value of national, cultural, ethnic, and racial borders. My research examines the ways that multimedia performance artists Guillermo Gómez-Peña (1955 – Mexico City, D.F.), Coco Fusco (1960 – New York, NY), Roberto Sifuentes (1967 – Los Angeles, CA), Violeta Luna (Mexico City, D.F., Mexico) and the performance troupe La Pocha Nostra (1993-) articulate aesthetic projects with political intention to establish sociocultural and sociopolitical critiques of hegemonic discourses.

I examine the central role of the U.S.-Mexico border and border thinkingin texts and performances from the 1980s to 2015. The U.S.-Mexico border continues to be a site of socio-economic and geopolitical conflict more than one hundred sixty years after the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, and more than twenty years after the signing of the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) (1994). As is well known, NAFTA was meant to encourage free trade between Canada, The United States (U.S.), and Mexico. However, while trade agreements have fostered commerce across international borders, the U.S. and Mexican governments continue to work toward restrictions on immigration and transnational communications.