Juan Downey (1940-1993)
Guahibos (1976)
1976, 25:10 min, b&w and color, sound

Continuing Downey's Trans Americas series, Guahibos documents the artist's journey down the Middle Orinoco River of Venezuela and his encounter with the semi-Westernized Guahibos. Part anthropological record, part personal odyssey, this subjective document parallels the divided cultural identity of the Guahibos with Downey's search for his roots: "I have been looking for my own self in South America." Rather than imposing a documentary authority, he allows the images and voices of the Guahibos to speak for themselves. Observing the importance of tribal ritual and ceremony for an indigenous people faced with the encroachment of Western economic, technological and political systems, he states: "This is an image of displacement, of culture shock. This tribe is a metaphor for myself."

Field Crew: Marilys Downey, Juanfi Lamadrid, Titi Lamadrid. Editors: Juan Downey, John Trayna. -- EAI

This title is available for exhibitions, screenings, and institutional use through Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), NY. Please visit the EAI Online Catalogue for further information about this artist and work. The EAI site offers extensive resources for curators, students, artists and educators, including: an in-depth guide to exhibiting, collecting, and preserving media art; A Kinetic History: The EAI Archives Online, a collection of essays, primary documents, and media charting EAI's 40-year history and the early years of the emergent video art scene; and expanded contextual and educational materials.