“Coyotes” and borders

Gender, migration and performance
in Central America.

Regina José Galindo / Maria Adela Diaz / Ursula Biemann

Friday, March 28, 2008 at 8:30pm
Maison Populaire de Montreuil
Free admission

If Central America is today the site of a patriarchy that is now articulated to the complexity of a situation of economic globalization, within which the maquiladoras1 currently raging in Central America, play a decisive role, as well as being the matrix for new generations of artists whose performance work conceals a rare strength and intensity. By presenting the work of performers who are little-known in France, we wanted to reflect the vitality and radicalism of Latin American feminism, and the expressiveness and evocative power of its embodied resistance.

In the presence of Jules Falquet (specialist in social movements and feminist theories in Latin America)


 Who can erase traces? Regina José Galindo

Poet and performer Regina José Galindo has been one of the most emblematic Guatemalan artists of her generation since the mid-90s. In her controversial performances, in which her own body is the vehicle through which she denounces political and social conflict, violence and economic injustice, she pays tribute to the dead and disappeared of the civil war of the 80s and 90s, and to the genocidal dictatorship of General Rios Montt. Her work is also a clarification of the violence done to women’s bodies in today’s world, and more specifically in Latin America, with the feminicide going on in Central America, the over-valuation of women’s virginity, their sexual exploitation and domestic violence. “I am a commonplace (…) I am the most common woman among commonplaces” writes Regina José Galindo. Carrying to the limit the affirmation that art is life, Regina José Galindo transcends the artistic dimension of her performances, which contribute poetically to alleviating, as she puts it, the collective pain of the Guatemalan people.

Video performances : ¿Quien puede borrar las huellas ? (2003, 1’50’’) / Mientras, ellos siguen libres (2007, 2’25’’) / Himenoplastia (2004, 7’) / Perra (2005, 5’20’’) / Ablucion (2007, 4’) / Limpieza social (2006, 2’)


Borderline and invisible territories – Maria Adela Diaz

“I express through my body, the sublime of my gender and its transformation is my way of communicating my agreements and disagreements with life. Using it as a medium, I convey my objections to political deceptions, patriarchal societies, and discriminating philosophies.” Maria Adela Diaz
Maria Adela Diaz is an emerging Guatemalan contemporary artist who, like Regina José Galindo, implements an aesthetic of turning stigma on its head. Her work focuses on the condition of women and migrants in the United States.

Video performances : Territorio invisible (2005, 2’) / Borderline (2005, 2’) (distribution: le peuple qui manque)



Performing the border – Ursula Biemann

Artist, theorist and curator, Ursula Biemann is the author of numerous works on the themes of borders, mobility, technologies and the gendered dimension of migration.

Video–essay : Performing the border (1999, 45’)

“Performing the border, investigates the living and working conditions of women in the vast backyard of the American economy south of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Taking as her starting point an advertisement for the Elamex company, which sells women’s labor for a dollar an hour, the video artist shows that the social and technical construction of the border extends to the sexuality of those whose “performance” is touted in the image. If the story of a woman “coyote” – or border-crosser – allows us to envisage possible exits from this system of control, the story of the serial murders around the Mexican city of Juarez raises disturbing questions about the serialization of human life for the manufacture of hi-tech goods (computers, etc.)” (Multitudes). (Multitudes 15, Winter 2004)



  1. Maquiladoras: subcontracting companies of high-tech products (computers, laboratories, etc.), subsidiaries of multinationals, relocated to Mexican territory, calling on an unskilled workforce, mostly women with very low wages. [Central America has become the area of the American continent most affected by unpunished murders of women. There is even talk of feminicide (genocide against women)