Home / Content / EL NAFTAZTECA, 1994-95


Live Interactive Television (58:00, 1994-95)
Director (1994), Editor of Distributed version (1995)


Interrupting the nightly news in an act of guerrilla television, Gómez-Peña returns to the persona of a Chicano-Aztec veejay—"The Mexican who talks back, the illegal Mexican performance artist with state of the art technology"—to elaborate the complications of American identity. This post-NAFTA Cyber Aztec pirate commandeers the television signal from his underground "Vato bunker", where virtual reality meets Aztec ritual. Gómez-Peña embodies the doubly radical Chicano performance artist, delivering radical ideas through a radical form of entertainment.With guest performances by Roberto Sifuentes and Ruben Martinez.


"The piece combines the old technology of cable access and radio call-ins with the new technologies of cyberspace, virtual reality and satellites to destroy the border between new and old technologies, English and Spanish, Mexico and the U.S."

- John Hess and Patricia R. Zimmermann, "Transnational Documentaries: A Manifesto," AfterImage, January / February 1997

"The character El Naftazteca was 'a renegade high-tech Aztec who commandeers a commercial television signal and broadcasts a demonstration of his Chicano Virtual Reality machine from the techno-alter setting of his underground bunker. The Chicano Virtual Reality machine enables El Naftazteca to retrieve instantly any moment from his or his people's history, and then display the moment in video images,' explains Gomez-Pena in the Web site that documents the event.. Also a participant in the international mail art movement in them '70s, Gomez-Pena addresses issues of multiculturalism in his work with media and forms that include film, video, radio, performance, and installation art." 

- Eduardo Kac, "The Internet and the Future of Art," Parole

"In 1995, Guillermo Gomez-Pena and Adriene Jenik produced El Naftazteca: Cyber-Aztec TV for 2000 AD, a live satellite transmission in which Gomez-Pena plays a Cyber-Aztec pirate who commandeers a commercial TV signal from his underground studio ... these telematic works, regardless of what medium they are modeled on or what media they are combining, extend the public sphere and create the possibility for extended public discourse." 

- Steve Dietz, "Public Sphere_s"

Part of the Series "In a Word...with Technology"
Produced at iEAR Studios (LINK),
Renssellaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Troy, NY
Executive Producer: Branda Miller
Producer: Phillip Djwa
Written by Guillermo Gomez-Pena and Roberto SiFuentes
Originally Broadcast LIVE November 24, 1994 (90:00)
Re-edited for re-broadcast and distribution in 1995 (60:00)
Editor: Adriene Jenik
Distributed by Video DataBank