1973 - Technology and beyond - Juan Downey

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Wars against humanity and nature (i .e .-the violent extraction of the earth's fruits) have been technology's raison d'e9tre and the incentive for its urgent development. Misapplied technology generates apparent wealth, but in the process disharmonizes the interaction between humanity and nature.

The overwhelming progress of industrialization is attributable to the mass-production of successful objects: the same form repeated for everybody This ideal is contemporary with the emergence of socialism But assembly lines and consequently series of identical forms are alien within a natural context.

Industrialization is also anti-natural as it displaces nature's mystical import, with its mechanistic myths, truncating man from nature

Nineteenth century industrialization sought to replace and control natural effects, thus creating cultures with rigid, overspecialized and fragmented roots millions of disconnected individuals Cities have become monuments to the mass marketing of objects, with the consequent glorification of transportation systems, the most common and obvious source of ecological breakdown. Transportation systems are the web of centralized imperialistic greed. The price of sustenance for these networks of exchange has also culminated in worldwide political madness.

Today we seek to organize ourselves around cybernetic communication systems and energy sources developed by the World War II generation and, until the present, utilized exclusively with a nineteenth-century-object-marketing attitude . It is this industrial use of technology as opposed to the cybernetic use of technology which produced a culture aborting both humanism and mysticism.

Cybernetic technology operating in synchrony with our nervous systems is the alternative life for a disoriented humanity Electronics inevitably stretching the human nervous system reshapes the manner in which we occupy environment. By expanding our perception, electronic circuits strengthen the man-space relationship, rendering apparent its dependency upon time . . . Our lifestyles require a larger and more energized environment. The way we relate to other humans creates unprecedented intra and inter-urban groupings, organic to communication systems.

Ironically, the man-nature chasm can only be closed by technology. The process of reweaving ourselves into natural energy patterns is Invisible Architecture, an attitude of total communication within which ultra-developed minds will be telepathically cellular to an electromagnetic whole.

While industrialization terminated the notion of a diversified hand-made environment, computer technology opens to diversification in environmental design . It can alter modular units (non mass-production) to create systems of higher complexity and flexibility where the potentialities of human communities, due to the nature of their brains, are higher . This is a post-political, erotic, mystic, electromagnetic, level of reality Computers, by transforming the environment into cells of varied shapes integral to a synergistic whole, will introduce a mystical humanism . In some human beings, brain waves are symbiotic with natural phenomena: communication with others and with the environment is total.

The invisible architect becomes one with energy and manipulates this wave-material. Invisible Architecture re-explains electronic circuitry as a bio-feedback tool in evolving the collectivity of human brains to transmit and receive (non-verbally) high frequency electromagnetic energy . Direct communication is beyond symbols the content overpowers the significant.

Human/ electronics interaction sets humanity on a global, interconnective level where technology becomes less and less necessary . . . Cybernetic technology breaks through the impasse to which the pre-cybernetic use of technology brought us to; ecological balance threatened by an endlessly increasing number of tools.

Invisible Architecture provides shelter and communication/ transportation systems generated by the electromagnetic and gravitational energy exchange

(The universal law of gravitation can be understood not as a vertical pull, but as a tensional system sustaining the distances between bodies and their orbital cycles).


First Stage: Electronics reshape macro-planning . Second Second Stage: A communication network.

"The emergence of monotheism had as its corollary the rejection of Nature ; the affirmation of Jehova, the God in whose image man was made, was also a declaration of war on Nature ." Design with Nature, by Ian McHarg.

The judeo-christian tradition processed for several millenia an anthropocentric reasoning that culminates in the renascence, declaring inferior any art created outside southern Europe. The evolution of this geo-political arrogance is the narrowminded, imperialist conception of the primitive and the exotic. Racism applied to art is cultural suicide as well as homicide.


The dematerialized city as a matrix of communication/ energy exchange/ transportation : Urban services, such as education, entertainment, work, shopping, mass-eroticism, debris disposal and stockmarketing, are pre-empted by a multi-directional video computer network, which allows human beings to reestablish their relationship with nature . The option of a rural life for anybody with the advantages of urban stimulus. Cybernetic electronics raises society to an energy realm increasingly connective with whatever makes the Universe work. Fuller terms this process synergy and Teilhard de Chardin poetizes for everything that rises must converge. A society dedicated to the cultivation and enjoyment of the earth is a reality through the medium of electronic technology .


Within a setting where the ultimate value is an integration with natural forces, Western Culture (in spite and due to an advanced technology) ranks low when compared to Egypt, the Mayans, China, Tiahuanaco or other so called primitive cultures. What we underestimated as religious or magic, has proven to be knowledge of a more encompassing physical reality . Western conceptions of the primitive and the superstitious are often sophisticated and complex interactions acting upon environment.

The Dematerialized City is the electronic communication's network, the neural circuit that binds individual selves despite distance, thus providing an understanding of relativistic space-time . Teilhard de Chardin describes the future humanity as a socialization of the mind, and Paolo Soleri defines the city as a thousand minds. I define the Dematerialized City as that group of minds neurally connected to me. The structure of our city is the means of communication that maintains our unity . My family in Chile is part of this invisible city when we speak by phone via Telestar . Thus, the satellite and its orbit around the earth exist as a living neural cell .

An understanding of energy and matter elevates humanity to operational level within the spectrum of electromagnetic energy.

I conceive of a future, without a technological crutch, in which ultra developed human brains are deeply woven into the energy paths and patterns to an extent where disorder, war, waste and crime are out of context Human beings would share with all other species the benefits of natural cycles : communicant balance .


El manifiesto fue publicado por primera vez en el quinto número del segundo volumen de la revista Radical Software en el año de 1973. Esta edición de la revista, dedicada al video y al medio ambiente, contiene "dibujos, fotografías, explicaciones de una variedad de video performances, ambientes, exhibiciones; artículos sobre satélites domésticos de comunicaciones, juegos de computadora, espacio euclidiano, experimentos teatrales; incluye una actualización del directorio de cintas de video de RS en todo el mundo, una guía de programas de vt, un informe de herramientas de video y más". Además del trabajo de Juan Downey, la publicación también incluyó el trabajo de otros artistas como Frank Gillette, Beryl Korot, e Ira Schneider (1). Radical Software es una revista dedicada al videoarte fundada en 1970 por Beryl Korot, Phyllis Gershuny e Ira Schneider poco tiempo después de que el video empezará a ser una herramienta común entre los artistas de la época (2). Entre 1970 y 1970 se publicaron 2 volúmenes de la revista, cada uno con 5 y 6 volúmenes respectivamente (3).


Juan Downey (1940 – 1993) fue un artista multidisciplinario nacido en Santiago, Chile. Aunque en un inicio Downey trabajó con el dibujo, la pintura y el grabado, en 1968 cuando apareció la primer cámara domestica empezó a experimentar con este medio, convirtiéndose así en uno de los pioneros del videoarte en Chile y en el mundo(4). Para la realización de sus trabajos, la autora tomaba imágenes de la realidad que más tarde manipulaba con la edición. A partir de 1973, año en el que se publicó este manifiesto, su trabajo se articuló en torno a dos series: "Trans- América" y "El ojo pensante", las cuales se encargaban de explorar y rastrear el inconsciente colectivo, la primera de ellas centrada en las culturas indígenas de América del Sur y la segunda en el mundo occidental (4). Durante su vida Downey obtuvo más de 30 becas, incluso fue beneficiado dos veces las del Guggenheim, Rockefeller y OEA. Algunas de las distinciones a las que se hizo acreedor fueron el Primer Premio de Grabado en Cuba (1964), el Rockefeller Foundation Video Fellowship Award (1981) y el Premio en el Festival de Video de San Sebastián, España (1983).


(1) http://www.vasulka.org/archive/4-30d/RadicalSoftware(6012).pdf CITAR CON APA

(2) http://www.radicalsoftware.org/e/index.html

(3) http://www.radicalsoftware.org/e/browse.html

(4) http://www.portaldearte.cl/autores/downey.htm



Radical Software Vol. II, No. 5: http://www.vasulka.org/archive/4-30d/RadicalSoftware(6012).pdf