Documentado/Undocumented Ars Shamánica Performática

DOC/UNDOC presents itself as a seven-year effort in which, as Rice notes, “an unlikely group of collaborators re/imagine the future of bookmaking.

What Is It?

Unlike most works of art that cannot be touched, this one yearns to be caressed, pressed, unpacked, and disassembled for the sake of initiating personal and cultural transgressions and transcendence.

Aural and video elements are equally important in the gesamtkunstwerk effect of DOC/UNDOC. A complex soundscape is triggered when the aluminum lid lifts.

An elaborate audio-visual treasure box houses a “shamanic” performance kit complete with sound effects, kitschy-campy objets d’art, a vanity mirror, and a fake fur frame.


If the talismans that surround the book are not merely toys, but rather tools for transcendence, then the printed book, by master printmaker Felicia Rice, can be seen as the scripture.

In the book Rice offers a layered visual track under and alongside Gómez-Peña's words, leveraging his psycho-personal-political-poetic voice into a series of high pitch, often-nightmarish images.

Shamanic Accordion

Demented clowns, tigers, cartoon figures, skeletons, and the Santa Sangre populate this world, and inflect Gómez-Peña's voice on the page

Each page of the book is a visual interpretation of the writings of Gomez-Peña using hand-drawn images of found objects, some taken directly from the personal collection of the performance artist.

The ragged intensity of Rice’s imagery and the short bursts of Gómez-Peña’s performance texts offers a visual-verbal experience

In a quietly radical gesture for the world of book arts and printmaking, the floating images break the rules of marginal precision and free the pages from traditional frames.

Lipstick, wrestlers masks, love talismans, amulets, rattles, false teeth, breath mints, paper money, eyeliner, and vials containing grains of corn invite us to participate in private acts of self-adornment, ritual offerings and genuflection.

If we are attentive, we find discreetly distributed doorbell buttons that can be pushed to trigger even more elaborate recordings by sound artist Zachary James Watkins.

Tattoo Tears

Filmmaker and videographer Gustavo Vasquez also collaborated with Gomez-Peña on a series of short videos.

These vignettes sometimes take the form of homage to important performance artists of the last fifty years such as Marina Abromovic offering a tongue-in-cheek revision in a Mex-Chicano idiom.

Performing is a way of dreaming when we are awake, imagining ourselves crossing a variety of cultural borders that are not always clearly delineated but that have both psychological and political impacts.

Credits: Story

DOC/UNDOC Documented/Undocumented Ars Shamánica Performática
Felicia Rice
Guillermo Gómez-Peña
Gustavo Vazquez
Zachary James Watkins
Jennifer A. González

Limited edition artists’ book: Moving Parts Press
Trade Edition: City Lights Booksellers & Publishers

Museo Eduardo Carrillo
Betsy Andersen, Executive Director
Captions adapted from essays by Jennifer A. González and John Weber at

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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