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The Sneeze Reflex

A performance exploring an endemic species  from Mexico, that is consumed worldly. A sensorial exploration of physical responses in a daily situation (place) that might result in no longer becoming a comfortable/livable/inhabitable situation. Through an external stimulus (cooked chiles), we observe individuals reflexes and responses of mobility, search, protest fueled by fear, anger, and (dis)comfort. I am interested in the parallels drawn between migration, refugees and survival and Mexican Chiles.


Chiles bind with pain receptors, which are nerve endings that sense pain. This induces a burning sensation, but does not actually cause any real burning injuries. The sneeze reflex is a coordinated neural and muscular response to the irritation of the upper respiratory system, especially the nasal orifice (opening) and nasal passages. If sneezing is a reflex to cooking chile, what might our civic reflex be to flying bullets, to puddles of blood, to mounts of carcasses. Is our only option moving? What happens when we are not welcome?


I am interested in physical “reflexes” as a form of protest.  I am interested in the inhibition of a reflex caused by thought processes.The idea that reflexes are an action that is performed as a response to a stimulus and without conscious thought. When it comes to civic reflexes we might experience learned helplessness or frozen mobility, or a variety of other phenomenons that inhabit are “reflexes”.

PERFORMANCY FORUM: CIVIC REFLEX is a collective performance/social art project involving: 1) the formation of a self-reflexive collective of 20 artists/groups 2) a series of 5 public forum events and 3) an online blog substantiating and framing “civic” “civil” and “reflexive” performance practices and performative theoretics. PERFORMANCY FORUM: REFLEJO CÍVICO es un colectivo de arte social y performance  que consiste en: 1) la creación de un colectivo de 20 artistas/grupos que se comporte de manera auto-reflexiva 2) una serie de 5 eventos/foros abiertos al público 3) un blog online dedicado a proveer contexto y enmarcar teóricamente prácticas de arte performático, civil, cívico y auto-reflexivo.

The 20 artists/groups are: Rina Espiritu, Pei-Ling Ho, Tsedaye Makonnen, Diane Dwyer, David Ian Bellows/Griess, Benjamin Lundberg Torres Sánchez, Daniel Gonzalez, Nana Ama Bentsi-Enchill, Aditi Natasha Kini and Amin Husain, Leopold Krist, Megan Livingston, Feminist Art Group (F.A.G.), Amelia Marzec, Samantha CC, Sierra Ortega, Verónica Peña, Ada Pinkston, Lorene Bouboushian, Arantxa Araujo, Helen Yung

The 20 artists/groups will meet on each of the five Saturdays for collective forum discussion and interaction, followed by performances/presentations/situations on each date starting at 8pm, FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

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