Video Trans Americas

Juan Downey

Santiago de Chile, Chile, 1940 - New York, USA, 1993
  • Date: 
  • Dimensions: 
    Variable dimensions
  • Edition/serial number: 
  • Media description: 
    Fourteen-channel video ("Yucatán", 1973, 28'22"; "Guatemala", 1973, 27'30"; "New York/Texas 1", 1974, 20'; "New York/Texas 2", 1974, 20'; "La Frontera I", 1976, 14'18"; "La Frontera II", 1976, 12'45";"Lima", 1975, 28'; "Macchu-Pichu", 1975, 28'; "Uros I", 1975, 20'; "Uros II", 1975, 20'; "Nazca I", 1976, 10'08"; "Nazca II", 1976, 10'08"; "Inca I", 1976, 20'; "Inca II", 1976, 20'; Betacam SP and DVD) and silhouette of the map of America
  • Colour: 
    Black and white
  • Sound: 
  • Category: 
    Installation, Video
  • Entry date: 
  • Register number: 

Juan Downey arrived in the USA halfway through the 1960s after training in Europe (Barcelona, Madrid and Paris). First in Washington and, from the 1970s, in New York, his approaches encompassed happenings, performance and video-graphic practices, in full swing at the time. His immigrant status and the need to maintain contact with Chile, his country of origin, shaped concerns that ran through his works, an obsession with a culture attached to his socio-political context, and the issue of intercultural identity — nomadism as a mental state permanently searching for the balance between culture and biography, as well as video as a medium serving ideas.

The installation Video Trans Americas confronts us with the silhouette of a map of America, represented on the floor and on part of the wall in the room, and seven videos recorded in different trips around the American continent from 1973 to 1976. Upon travelling through the map and approaching each zone depicted in the video-diaries of his travels, the spectator establishes a corporeal relationship with the work, from which an immersion in indigenous cultures is put forward, stopping most notably at Inca culture.