Guillermo Gomez-Pena and Coco Fusco | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Guillermo Gomez-Pena and Coco Fusco

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Ciao Columbus, Buenos Dias Nuevo World (B)order!" might be the battle cry of the two "aboriginal specimens" who have demanded to be discovered even if it means placing themselves in a glass case for 16 hours this weekend at the Field Museum. A "Post-Colombian Site-Specific Project," created by performance artist, writer, and provocateur Guillermo Gomez-Pena and Coco Fusco, a writer, curator, and media artist. Gomez-Pena and Fusco will play natives of the fictional island of Guatinau--a land somehow overlooked during the European conquest of the Americas. Recalling the days when indigenous peoples all over the world wound up as live displays in museums, royal courts, and circuses since the discovery of the new World, Gomez-Pena and Fusco's installation also aims to force the viewers to consider their expectations of aboriginal behavior and dress, and to confront their own prejudices in the process. Visitors will be invited to interact with Gomez-Pena and Fusco, feed them, or drop change into a donation box to encourage a traditional dance or story. Various versions of this installation elsewhere have caused one woman in Madrid to break down and weep, some to believe they are absolutely authentic, others to grow angry at their Spanish or "Spanglish," and still others to hurl racist epithets. This collaboration is one piece in a multifaceted interdisciplinary project called The Year of the White Bear, which also includes an exhibit at the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, performances at Randolph Street Gallery, as well as various artist-in-residence activities, and a radio-art project with Experimental Sound Studio. Field Museum of Natural History, Roosevelt Rd. at Lake Shore Drive, 922-9410. Saturday and Sunday, January 16 and 17, 10 AM to 5 PM. Free with museum admission ($4, $2.50 for children). New World (B)order: Randolph Street Gallery, 666-7737. January 22 through 24: Friday-Sunday, 8 PM. $10.

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