Temple of Confessions (1996)

Temple of Confessions (1996) HIDVL

This itinerant performance/installation present two "end-of-the-century saints" from an "unknown border religion," in search of sanctuary across the United States while gathering confessions on intercultural fears and desires. Designed as a theater of mythos and cultural pathologies, the "Temple" proposes a ceremonial space for the reflection on ethnic, racial, and gender prejudices. It is divided in three main areas: the "Chapel of Desires," displaying "El Pre-Columbian Vato" or "holy gang member" (performed by Roberto Sifuentes); the "Chapel of Fears," displaying "San Pocho Aztlaneca" (a "hyper-exoticied curio shop shaman for spiritual tourists" performed by Guillermo Gómez-Peña); and an enigmatic funerary vignette composed by performance objects. Paintings of other "hybrid santos" hang from the walls, two "nuns" ("chola/nun" Norma Medina and "dominatrix nun" Michelle Ceballos) take care of the temple, and visitors can leave their "confessions"; the most revealing ones are incorporated into the installation soundtrack for future performances.

Pre-performance street intervention: As a pre-performance strategy for advertising their upcoming 'The Temple of Confessions' performance/installation, La Pocha Nostra conducts a series of interventions in Detroit's public sphere. Two 'end-of-the-century saints', in search of sanctuary across the United States while gathering confessions on intercultural fears and desires, take on key politically relevant or visually interesting public sites. 'El Pre-Columbian Vato' or 'holy gang member' (performed by Roberto Sifuentes) and 'San Pocho Aztlaneca' (a 'hyper-exoticied curio shop shaman for spiritual tourists' performed by Guillermo Gómez-Peña) are walked in leashes by 'corporate dominatrix' Michelle Ceballos and tended by 'chola/nun' Norma Medina; in this fashion, they visit an array of public places, from a financial/downtown district fancy café, to the US-Canada border, always followed by an entourage of photographers and videographers from the local media that document their 'pilgrimage'.Through these performative irruptions in everyday life, La Pocha Nostra creates the means for provoking in the "Temple" prospective audience an aura of expectation, a bearing witness of a mythology of intercultural fears and desires; this, in turn, would broaden the diversity of the audience, and create a propitious environment for their upcoming 'confessions'.

HIDVL Video Holdings

The Temple of Confessions (edited excerpts, embedded below)
The Temple of Confessions (Pre-Performance Street Intervention, Detroit)


Permanent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2333.1/8w9ghx98

Additional Info

  • Title: The temple of confessions
  • Holdings: video (HIDVL)
  • Duration: varies
  • Language: English, Spanish, Spanglish
  • Date: varies
  • Location: "Temple of Confessions" performed at Rhode Island College, Rhode Island. Pre-Performance Street Intervention performed in Detroit, Michigan.
  • Type-Format: performance, installation, performance art
  • Cast: Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Roberto Sifuentes, Norma Medina, Michelle Ceballos.
  • Credits: Guillermo Gómez-Peña, director, producer ; La Pocha Nostra, producer ; Rhode Island College Art Center, producer ; Steven Davis, editor.