Mimicking bodybuilding training sessions, Educación cívica / Civic Education attempts to “train” social coexistence between bodies. We are all civilians: Even the soldier maintains a civil identity, if only in his or her sleep. Conversely, even as civilians we all become soldiers. We become soldiers while we work, as part of a war economy.
Zevallos’s performance improvises a game of fighting and reconciling gestures, in an attempt to move back and forth between inhabiting a body with a single identity and a manifold body, a hybrid of several identities and contradictory behaviors. The performance is based on a previous work called Clase Media (Middle Class) by LOT Theatre, Carlos Cueva, Carlos Javier Vega, and Sergio Zevallos, 2005.
Sergio Zevallos’s first performance was to be born in the best hospital of Lima, when his mother managed to be illegally admitted to the emergencies. The latter is a key term in his life’s itinerary as it was soon followed by Peru’s state of emergency throughout the 1970s and 1980s. This was the beginning of Zevallos’s feeling of being uprooted. He later became the co-founder of the Grupo Chaclacayo (1982–95), and traveled to Germany with the group in 1989. After the group split, he moved to Berlin in 1995, where he is still based. Zevallo is a nomad and often changes places and artistic disciplines. His practice started as drawing and moved on to performance, photography, installation, writing, and finally a mix of everything. His work remains in continual development, a construction site. The main topics of his work are transcultural identity, gender, and the contradictions in the relation between individuals and power, or between the private and public spheres.