La Pocha Nostra is an ever-morphing trans-disciplinary arts organization. Based in San Francisco with factions in other cities and countries, our mission statement reads: “We provide a center and forum for a loose network of rebel artists from various disciplines, generations, gender persuasions and ethnic backgrounds.”
Our common denominator is our desire to challenge, cross, and erase dangerous borders between art and politics, practice and theory, artist and spectator, mentor and apprentice, body and cultural nightmares. We strive to eradicate myths of purity and dissolve borders surrounding culture, ethnicity, gender, language, power, and métier. Sadly, at this point in time, these are still considered radical acts.
La Pocha Nostra is a virtual maquiladora, a conceptual assembly plant that produces brand-new metaphors, symbols, images, and words to articulate the complexities of our times. Through sui-generis combinations of artistic languages, mediums and performance formats, we explore the interface of migration, hybrid identities, border culture, globalization-gone-wrong, and new technologies.The Spanglish neologism Pocha Nostra translates as either “our impurities” or “the cartel of cultural bastards.”
We love this poetic ambiguity. It reveals an attitude towards art and society: Cross-racial, cross-national, poly-gendered, post-ultra-retro-experimental or a remix of the same, ¿y qué? ¿Cuál es el pedo?
La Pocha collaborates across national borders, race, gender and generational lines. Our collaborative model functions both as an act of citizen diplomacy and as a means to create ephemeral communities of like-minded rebels. We are more of a conceptual “laboratory” of live art— an association of rebel artists thinking together, exchanging ideas and aspirations. The basic premise of these collaborations is founded on an ideal: If we learn to cross borders on stage, in the gallery or museum, we may learn how to do so in larger social spheres and transgress what it keep us apart. We hope others will be challenged to do the same.
La Pocha Nostra is an intercultural poltergeist. We are a migrant dream that suddenly becomes a nightmare; a pagan religion located in the body, a bunch of malfunctioning cyborgs, a deterritorialized desire, and deeply committed friends.
La Pocha Nostra has died and been resurrected dozens of times. It has been a garage performance troupe, an experimental sideshow, an interactive living museum and curiosity cabinet, a wild club night, a politicized x-treme fashion show, a conceptual surgical theater, and transgressed bodies laid on top of each other. Pocha has also acted as a performance clinic, a nomadic school, a town meeting, an intellectual rave, and a virtual resource center. Pocha can act as a Trojan horse by finding the way to involve other artist in the creative process. La Pocha is this and that and everything in between, always easy with fluctuating borders and flaunting our “otherness."