This may refer to any work that uses the body as a canvas, and can include tattoos and piercings, but in a performance context it represents work in which the artist's body is integral to the work of art, as material rather than subject. The work I refer to as body art comes largely from the 1960s and 70s, and constitutes work that addressed taboos concerning what was acceptable as artistic action, by forcing the audience to confront these taboos, in employing techniques such as self-mutilation, masturbation, and bleeding.
Cartesian mind-body split:
Rene Descartes laid down the idea, which is still central to Western thinking today, that the thinking mind was somehow more real than the body in which it is housed. The idea that emotions, and subjective truth, are separate from the body, is part of the mindset that suggests that an essential inner identity independent of the social and historical experience of the body exists.
Refers specifically to Mexicans living in the USA, with whom Gomez-Pena is concerned. It is a word that is very prominent in his work, and he uses it to refer to his own ethnic identity, as part of a comment on the way notions of Otherness are disseminated.