Monday, November 28: Leticia Robles-Moreno

“Digital Cholas: Giuseppe Campuzano and Germain Machuca’s Queer + Brown Afterlives”

Monday, November 28, 2022 1:30-2:30pm ET via Zoom

A grainy, YouTube screenshot of Germain Machuca and Giuseppe Campuzano during a casting screen test for Claudia Llosa's short film Loxoro. On the right, Machuca is in the foreground with a blond and brunette updo, wearing dark eye makeup with pink lipstick, pink dangling earrings, a necklace, and a pink V-neck top. Campuzano is on the left with red-headed mullet, electric blue eye makeup, pink lipstick, a dangling earring, a green tank top and a long necklace. Behind them is a mirror and pink drapes. On the bottom, the YouTube screen controls (play, skip, volume, timestamp, autoplay, closed captioning, setting, and screen options) are visible.
Germain Machuca and Giuseppe Campuzano casting screen test for Claudia Llosa’s short film Loxoro. YouTube screenshot.

Giuseppe Campuzano (Lima, 1969-2013) and Germain Machuca (Lima, 1950) are Peruvian performers, cuir + Brown, chola drag extraordinaire, who cipher bodies that were and that could be. Looking back at histories of erasure, silencing, neglect, and disposability, their performances wield pleasure, as well as pain, staking a claim for political recognition. I read Campuzano and Machuca in dialogue with a Muñozian approach, to consider what it means to be in the body of a queer of color thinker/doer, and what it means to be-with other bodies of color that survived or struggled against systemic colonialism and racism. They summon the absent presence of those bodies assassinated by a history of hate and fear, transcending violence and defying death. At the center of their work resides a generative force that expands, replicates, disintegrates, reconstitutes, and continually morphs – even in their digital afterlives. Their bodies speak and become visible through aesthetic claims that are cuir and travesti, chola and traca, sensual and political. This corporal fluidity permeates the Internet, where Giuseppe and Germain’s multiple, spreading, and estranging identity functions not as a predicate, but as an action in the digital sphere. This talk interpellates the scope of transnational and hemispheric performance studies that have yet to look at Latin America through the eyes and bodies of its thinkers/artists. 

Leticia Robles-Moreno received her PhD from New York University’s Department of Performance Studies and is Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre & Dance at Muhlenberg College. Her research focuses on transnational processes of collective creation in contemporary performance and politics. Her book project Living After Death: Performance, Decay, and Collective Survival in the Americas analyzes the political aesthetics of theatre, art, and activism, as modes of anti-neoliberal and intersectional bodily coexistence in times of loss and decay, from a combined perspective of Performance Studies, Critical Race Theory, and Affect Studies. As a member of the Women Mobilizing Memory research group at the Center for the Study of Social Difference at Columbia University, she has studied Latin American Antigones’ role in post-conflict contexts, in dialogue with the political potentialities of transnational feminisms. Her work has been published in Latin American Theatre Review, Contemporary Theatre ReviewConjuntoHispanic Issues Online, e-misférica, and TDR.