micha cárdenas
Since 2007
Works in United States of America

Micha Cárdenas is an artist/theorist whose transreal work mixes physical and networked spaces in order to explore emerging forms of queer relationality, biopolitics and DIY horizontal knowledge production. She is the Interim Associate Director of Art and Technology for UCSD’s Sixth College in the Culture, Art and Technology program. She has been a lecturer in the Visual Arts department and Critical Gender Studies program at UCSD. She is an artist/researcher with the UCSD School of Medicine, CRCA and the b.a.n.g. lab at Calit2. Her recent publications include Trans Desire/Affective Cyborgs, with Barbara Fornssler, from Atropos Press, “I am Transreal”, in Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation from Seal Press and “Becoming Dragon: A Transversal Technology Study” in Code Drift from CTheory. Her collaboration with Elle Mehrmand, “Mixed Relations,” was the recipient of the UCIRA Emerging Fields Award for 2009. She has exhibited and performed in biennials, museums and galleries in cities around the world including Los Angeles, San Diego, Tijuana, New York, San Francisco, Montreal, Egypt, Ecuador, Spain, Saas-Fee, Switzerland, Dublin, Ireland and many other places. Her work has been written about in publications including Art21, the Associated Press, the LA Times, CNN, BBC World, Wired and Rolling Stone Italy.

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The Circus of (Im)Migration video documentation

Tue Dec 11, 2007 00:00 - Tue Dec 11, 2007

United States of America

Watch the 40 minute video documentation of the circus here:

The Circus of (Im)Migration

High quality version, 1.05GB

Low quality web version, 240MB

The Circus of (Im)Migration took place in the spring of 2007. The traveling circus was an uncircus performed by the Boredom Patrol of the Clanestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army and volunteers and workshop participants in seven cities: Olympia, WA; Portland, OR; Eugene, OR; Berkeley, CA; San Francisco, CA; Santa Cruz, CA; and San Diego, CA. The performance consisted of 3 acts: act one about the circus, act two about our personal stories about borders and act three about the immigration raids taking place around the US. Over 750 people were deported through raids on homes on workplaces in April alone. In between the acts, the following youtube videos were shown:

Clowns vs. Minutemen Pt.2 Operation More Secure than Depends

REAL Alien Invasion of “Our Minutemen” at a Home Depot

The third act took the form of the Theater of the Oppressed forum theater, where audience members were invited to join the performance and change the outcome of the scene.

Our attempt was to create an interactive, communal, openly participatory space for dialog about immigration, migration control, borders and freedom of movement. We see this practice in the tradition of using humor against fascism, as a way to open up dialog within a climate of fear and repression, with the hope that this dialog and laughter can be healing. Further, we are using the inbetween space of the clown, with our faces hidden and revealed by greasepaint, inbetween genders, ethnicities, roles, in order to challenge the rigid conceptions of identity, nationality and citizenship that underlie the rhetoric around immigration.

The circus was also organized with the hope of spreading the word about the No Borders Camp in Calexico/Mexicali and also with growing the network of the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army to spread all over the country. We could not have done this circus without all the help from the amazing network of community organizers, artists and community spaces who we worked with. Thank you.

More information, photos and video at http://circasd.org


mis.comm.unication - the space between us

Tue Dec 11, 2007 00:00 - Tue Dec 11, 2007

United States of America

“mis.comm.unication - the space between us” is about the breakdown and failure of communication, about the desire to be seen and to have one’s identity reaffirmed by the other and the lack of fulfillment of those desires. Communication always involves a significatory excess, miscommunication, misunderstanding. This performance examines how telecommunications technology amplifies this miscommunication, failing to convey the significatory excess of communication and replacing it with its own excess, feedback, artifacts.


The performance consists of 4 live performers. One performer is in the room with the audience, flanked by 2 video screens, one on each side of her body. A solo performer on one side of a “chat” appears in one video, and two performers on the other side of the “chat”, who claim to be the same person, appear in the other video. The performer in the room enacts the role of the medium, be that language, technology or the body. Through sensors on her body fed through a Puredata patch, the medium builds the amount of distortion, delay and disconnect as the performance unfolds. The video “chatters” react over time to the medium itself in their attempts to communicate. A fifth, unseen, performer may add additional distortion along the way. The performers will each receive only the processed audio, allowing them to explore the actual miscommunication and the emotions associated with it including longing, frustration and seduction.


This project was presented in the Telematic Performance graduate research group at UCSD led by Adriene Jenik, Mark Dresser and Sharokh Yadegari. The class was supported by CRCA and took place in the Performative Computing lab of the c(a)lit2 building.

The project was realized by myself, Batya MacAdam-Somer, Nina Waisman, Ashley Walters and Grace Leslie. We still have a lot of details to work out, but I’m excited about the performance, even in the sketch state that it is in, so I want to share some of the documentation of what we’re working on. We’re considering a public performance some time in January. I’ll post more about that soon.

What I like the most about this project is that it has been a way for me to continue working through some issues I’ve been dealing with personally, through the medium of network performance. My final line, repeated numerous times in the piece is: “What I really want to know is, when can I see you again?”

Short AVI video clip:


The Circus of (Im)Migration!

Tue May 01, 2007 00:00 - Thu Apr 19, 2007

The Boredom Patrol of the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown army is a gaggle of clowns who spend their days trying to create a world without borders by clowning fascists. They display their videos online and the lovely Minutemen gladly patricipate in the networked performance by engaging in a debate about immigration with all the other posters.

You can see their videos here:

The Boredom Patrol is doing a traveling Circus of (Im)Migration from Portland to Tijuana, all along the west coast of the US and a bit of Mexico. Join us for stories, ridicule of fascism, creative resistance, tearing down walls and building community, including Fantastical feats of Fire, Lion Taming, Tight Rope Walking, Knife Throwing, Burlesque, Punk Rock Opera, Theater, oh yeah and clowns too!

..We are C.I.R.C.A. because we live in the borderlands, always in between, on the edge of the nation state, mischevously ambiguous...

You can see our lovely flyer here:

and our travel schedule here: