The Alien Commons: Dance and Performance Beyond Citizenship Artist Talk and Showcase

The Alien Commons is a two-day event bringing together seminal artists making performances related to themes of borders, citizenship, and (im)migration—both legal and “illegal.” Featured artists include Tanya Aguiñiga, Zoë Klein, Gabriel Mata, and Liliana Gomez. Activities include an artist symposium and performance showcase. “I’ve truly enjoyed learning more about each artist individually, understanding them as multifaceted artists. It’s important to understand their previous works in conjunction to who they are now and where they are now,” says Assistant Director, Ana Carmona-Pereda ’24.

 “I hope the audience is compelled to understand the immigration debate beyond economic and security models and, in turn, develop new language to discuss it,” says PMA Assistant Professor Juan Manuel Aldape Muñoz.

Symposium: Thursday, March 21 | 5:30 pm | Film Forum, Schwartz Center | Open to all

Performance Showcase: Friday, March 22 | 7:30 pm | Flex Theatre, Schwartz Center | Get Free Tickets



Tanya Aguiñiga is a Los Angeles–based artist, designer, and activist. Her work provokes conversation surrounding gender and nationality, often drawing from her background as a Mexican American woman and mother. Aguiñiga crafts furniture, textiles, wearable pieces, sculptures, and site-specific installations that incorporate a range of natural materials, from beeswax to wool to human hair. Using the collaborative nature of craft, she promotes collective creation within communities, spearheading art-based advocacy projects including the Border Art Workshop/Taler de Arte Fronterizo in Maclovio Rojas, Mexico, and AMBOS (Art Made Between Opposite Sides), spanning the US- Mexico border, which seeks to document the emotions of commuters crossing it and gives voice to binational artists.

Zoë Klein (performing 3/22) is an acrobatic dancer, performing and visual artist and light designer in the San Francisco Bay Area. She makes work as an indigenous international adopted person, born in Colombia and raised in Brooklyn, NY. In 2010 she relocated to San Francisco and graduated from the Circus Center professional acrobatics training program under Master Lu Yi. After a non-stop career in the NYC entertainment industry, Zoë sought to reconnect with contemporary, site specific, community dance projects.

Gabriel Mata (performing 3/22) immigrated to the United States when he was five years old. He has danced with companies in California and Minnesota, and is currently an independent choreographer living in Washington, DC. Through a series of solo performances since 2015, such as Dreaming, In the Shadows, and This is where/I begin, the choreographer is theatricalizing his journey as a dancer, gay artist, and formerly undocumented migrant.

Liliana Gomez is a mother, dance maker, producer, and arts advocate from Phoenix, AZ. Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, Liliana has a passion for sharing dance within her community and has choreographed for public spaces such as galleries, canals, gardens, libraries and more. She is the managing director for the BlakTinx Dance Festival which showcases the work of Black and Latinx choreographers in Phoenix and Los Angeles, produced by the Latina Dance Project, of which Liliana is a member. Currently Liliana is the Dance Department head at the Phoenix Center for the Arts, and teaches a weekly dance class. Liliana was a cohort member for the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures Leadership Institute, participated in the National Presenters Forum at Jacob’s Pillow, and has been a selected artist for Dance in the Desert; A gathering of Latinx Arizona Dance Artists. In 2015, Liliana won the Mayor's Arts Award, was one of three finalists for the 2017 & 2018 Governor's Arts Awards, was named Best Dancer for Phoenix New Times 2017 and in 2018 was one of Phoenix Magazine’s 40 under 40 Artist category. Liliana invests in her community as she has served on many local arts board of directors and as a panelist for many national grant calls, advocating for more dance opportunities. Liliana is currently in rehearsal working on her first evening length show titled Caminando. More details coming soon!

Co-sponsored by the Migrations Initiative, Latina/o Studies Program, American Studies Program, Mellon Foundation's Just Futures, Society for the Humanities, Central New York Humanities Corridor, the Johnson Museum of Art, the Department of Performing and Media Arts, and the Cheryl Whaley and Eric Aboaf Fund. 

Photo credit: Gina Clyne. Courtesy of the artist, the image is from a performance of “Metabolizing the Border.”

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A person posing in a beige jumpsuit with a glass mask covering the face and glass shoulder and hand accessories
Photo credit: Gina Clyne. Courtesy of the artist, the image is from a performance of “Metabolizing the Border.”