Skip to main content
Unpublished Paper
Welcome to [Guillermo Gómez-Peña's] Third World
Southwest Popular/American Cultural Association Annual Conference (2014)
  • Tomaro I. Taylor
In art and life, concepts of the real are often obfuscated in performance; bodies and identities appear and disappear, joined and disjoined in the disambiguation of an original model and its hypperreal counterpart. In the disambiguated space—the expanse of which Jean Baudrillard deemed “the precession of simulacra”—performance artists have the ability to project images that do not exist outside of their projections. Hyperrealized beings reflexively accept, reject, and project the performances transmitted by and onto themselves. They construct and deconstruct the self, removing barriers and boundaries between the existing, the expected, and the anticipated. In Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s Welcome to the Third World, typical notions of geography, and physical and psychical placements are challenged by the artist’s presentation of identities that are, like the work itself, ephemeral and hyperreal. Within this ephemerality, however, there is an over-representation of identity that attempts to concretize the initial projection by suggesting that the portrayals are real. Gómez-Peña’s exaggerated use of historic footage, extreme costuming, and nested videography distort both subject and subject matter and, in doing so, confuse the real and the simulation in the projection of it all.

This paper explores the ambiguities of Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s performance work by proposing that the hyperreal depiction of “true” identity is, in itself, hyperreal and that the work, as a performance piece and as a video, reifies the real by existing only as a simulacrum. In Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s world, identities do not exist and cannot exist because they have always-already been assumed to exist; bodies and identities are hyper-presented because there is no presentation from which they abound. This research demonstrates that the hyperpresentation and hyperreality of Gomez-Pena’s Third World are reinforced by the very medium extending them beyond the real – the video. And that the video, in part, is what leads the viewing audience and the performance itself into the hyperreal.

This paper contributes to the continuing discourse of performativity and expands consideration of the relationships between ethnicity, identity and performance as it relates to the actualization of the hyperreal.
  • Guillermo Gomez-Pena,
  • Jean Baudrillard,
  • Performance studies,
  • Performativity,
  • Simulacra,
  • Hyperreality,
  • New Media
Publication Date
February 20, 2014
Citation Information
Tomaro I. Taylor. "Welcome to [Guillermo Gómez-Peña's] Third World" Southwest Popular/American Cultural Association Annual Conference (2014)
Available at: