papo colo

MoMA PS1: Night at the Museum: Thursday, August 25, 2016

Come enjoy a festive summer evening this Thursday at MoMA PS1! Night at the Museum is your last chance to see exhibitions including Cao Fei, VITO ACCONCI: WHERE WE ARE NOW (WHO ARE WE ANYWAY?), and Meriem Bennani: FLY. Get your tickets before they sell out! 

(via MoMA PS1: Night at the Museum: Thursday, August 25, 2016)


Papo Colo (b.1946) is a Puerto Rican multi-dimensional artists. His work ranges from performance, theater, instillation art along with painting, writing and graphic design. In 1977 he performed Superman 51 on the Westside Highway in NYC. In this piece Colo attaches long objects with ropes to his body that he then drags along as he makes his way across the Westside Highway. Superman 51 is a prime example of Modern Art in NYC due to its experimental use of video art and performance. 

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Zero Identity, by Papo Colo

If your background determines your discourse.
your expression is censored and monitored.
Then where you belong is fixed,
and your expression is a prisoner of your origins.

Belonging is a myth to promote identity.
Belonging is where you are right now
and the identity you want to assume.
Identity is an act of faith and
belonging is an emotional kidnapping.

Identity casts you.
Your naming is a way of submission,
of identifying and classifying you.

If origins are the identification of your past then the future is the victim of your origins,
making you a target of accumulated history
and a colonizer of your own aesthetic discourse.

Your authenticity questions your originality
because your ingenuity digests your origins.
To imagine yourself in zero identity, renounce ethnocentricity. In the Americas it is easy to fall into the never-ending discourse of repeating your background, caught in your own nostalgia. This gives ‘authenticity’ to your intellectual pretensions and validity to every expression of the transplanted history, a discourse limited to your ethnic origins. By transgressing the imposed ethnic role that you apply to yourself and to which the dominant culture agrees, you change both, the transplanted and the dominant cultures. This action makes you a cultural capsule that influences and changes your artistic thought and in the process you change the established thought.
Style is invented through identity but identity is always changing. That is why your end and beginning start with zero, a circle in a void in which you make a pirouette and create a necessary world from zero. History traces it to your origins. When you recognize that you are an original from a place that is not there anymore, then you understand that the origins disappear. Identity is dissolving, walking around zero, and nostalgic visions are appearances which makes you believe
in identity. Identity is a wall like the sound barrier but by now the process has decomposed the end. The overuse of identity has become a transplanted idea. Identity is a character that is ever changing. The state of being a cultural hybrid makes you see the accumulation of transplanted history three dimensionally. It is the knowledge of diverse cultures and your power of synthesis that describes this idea. When the identity is one, it is flat and superficial, monotonous, the routine of the mirror. When it is three dimensional it is multilayered, diverse, and complex, unable to be disected and traced to specific origins. But it is also more dangerous. Danger and fear are the emotions that you experience when you are a nomad - a hybrid, cultural instigator. You are the unknown, an accident that frees your identity, a cultural option placed in the future.