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Horacio Pérez

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MA Arts Politics Class of 2012

BFA Acting, Universidad de Chile

Horacio is a theatre artist and professor from Chile. Although his main interest is in directing, he has worked as an actor, costume designer and performance artist in different theatre and performance projects. His artistic work reflects around the intersection between theatre and other forms of contemporary art, such as installation and photography, which has led him to develop a photographic research with numerous actors and theatre companies from Chile, exploring with the intersection between acting and portraiture. On the past years he has also co-curated a cycle of staged readings of Chilean plays in non-conventional spaces (such as a hotel room, a hair saloon or a parking lot, among others) with different directors.

In 2011 the Government of Chile awarded Horacio with a scholarship to attend the M.A. Arts Politics at New York University -where his main focus of study was on performance art and public intervention-, and after finishing his graduate studies he did an internship at the Public Theater. He returned to Chile in 2013, and he started working in his former university, the Universidad de Chile, where he was appointed to be Career Coordinator for the B.F.A. in Acting (where he coordinates the creation of a new curriculum). He currently works as a professor and Director of Outreach Activities of the same institution, where he is in charge of curating the plays that are showcased in the Theatre Department and developing activities between the Department and the community.

What drew you to the MA Arts Politics program?

After some years working as a professional theatre actor and director I felt the need to understand my artistic practice in a larger context, and to explore the possibilities of my work in dialogue with other disciplines and ideas. So I started looking for an interdisciplinary academic environment that could allow me to reflect around artistic questions through theory and practice, and Arts Politics combined all of those needs.

I was particularly interested in the fact that the program allowed you to study whatever you want with people from very different professional backgrounds, and that you could develop projects instead of traditional academic work. And perhaps what felt more attractive was the fact that the study was built around “questions” instead of “answers”.

How did your experience in the program shape your work?

For me, the most significant part of studying the program was the fact that all my classmates (who I know consider my brothers and sisters, spread around the world) had very different professional and artistic backgrounds and interests, which made the classes a fascinating intersection of visions and ideas. Each one developed very different projects through the course of one year, but we were all able to establish connections with each other, talk about each other’s work and contribute from our very particular perspectives. That helped my work to be in dialogue with other visions and to felt that I had a support, a generous community willing to help and criticize in a constructive way.

The program also helped me to feel free to explore my creativity, because in my opinion art must always be a process of experimentation. Karen Finley (one of the program’s amazing professors) always challenged us to explore our ideas further and further, using our creativity as a tool to construct new languages and meanings, and that influenced me not only as an artist but also as a professor. When I teach I always try to encourage students to explore and trust their own ideas and obsessions, in the same way that she created a safe environment for us to explore and express ourselves in order to raise significant questions on the audience. 

What are you doing now? 

Since I came back to Chile I started working in my former school, the Theatre Department of Universidad de Chile, where now I'm a professor and Coordinator of Outreach Activities, which means I'm in charge of coordinating all the activities that connect the Department with the community, like open classes, conferences and festivals, among other things. The school has two theater spaces, so I'm also in charge of curating what is showed there, were the main focus we develop is that it's a place for our alumni to show their artistic/professional work.
And I am also preparing a play that I will direct on 2016. It's called "La trampa", it was written by Chilean playwright Alejandro Moreno, it has a huge cast of twenty actors onstage, and will premiere on Centro Gabriela Mistral (one of Santiago's most important cultural centers).