PRODUCTO: MEXICANO NACIONAL, IMPORTADO / PRODUCTO: NACIONAL MEXICANO, IMPORTADO
ÓSCAR GONZÁLEZ DÍAZ
“producto: mexicano nacional, importado / producto: nacional mexicano, importado” (2019) is a performance piece using bureaucracy as a stage to examine the loss of self when homogenizing into a system.
The translation of the title of the piece into English renders the words: “Product: Mexican national, imported,” which is neither a direct translation nor a misleading one. It stands right in between the two, as one does when answering the plethora of inane questions on a naturalization form. The way language translates into a mist; an application form in its black / white binary realm questions us, and in the process we question ourselves. What do we give up and gain when we agree to promises of bearing arms or to disavow the proliferation of terror in their way on their terms, the way it has already brought us here? The work is an attempt to speak possibility to a form that has no flexibility.
I presented this work on American soil and to an American audience with the intention of eliciting in them a mindset on how even migrants that participate in the system of governance are still being asked insurmountable questions of selfhood and being. Oftentimes the questions are ridiculous, often they speak more about American interventionism than immigration. We suffer them together as we laugh and cringe while answering.
I formatted the performance as an in-picture YouTube tutorial during a TED talk given live, where I walk an audience through the psychosocial implications of filling out a citizenship application: US Citizenship application as the form and myself (a Spanish-speaking Mexican national) as the applicant.
During the 45-minute performance, I joke and use children’s tongue twisters to bring about the infantile demeanor of the form and correlate it to our use of social media forms to deliver education.