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Juan Downey (1940-1993) was a Chilean artist working in New York whose innovations in video\, sculpture and interactive performanc e encouraged reflection on perception and the self to generate a more compl ex multicultural discourse. Drawing together advances in technology with an interest in the rituals of his native Latin America\, Downey engineered ‘i nvisible architectures’ to rethink connections between society\, history\, information and the environment.

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In 1969 Downey relocated to New York\, where he became part of the community associated with the journal Radic al Software and the Raindance collective\, who were amongst t he first artists to articulate the technical\, theoretical and political po tential of video. Purchasing a video camera in 1970\, Downey exploited the possibilities of feedback to explore and expand space and time. Mirrors\, l ight\, shadow and the ‘radiant nature’ of electro-magnetic energy became ke y tools through which he began to navigate the ‘dematerialized cities’ of t he information age.

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Radical Software published a statement abou t Downey’s 1973 video performance Plato Now\, a work presented ori ginally at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse\, NY and restaged for the first time as part of the Tanks opening programme. The 1973 event consisted of nine participants (including the artist Bill Viola and the curator Davi d Ross) meditating with their backs to the audience. A row of nine video mo nitors positioned between the meditators and the audience allowed spectator s to view the faces of the performers on closed-circuit television while sh adows of the public animated the wall behind. Those participating in medita tion were provided with sensors to monitor the alpha waves generated by the ir brain activity\, which transmitted pre-recorded quotations from Plato’s  Dialogues to headphones worn by each performer. This complex netwo rk of psychic trance\, mediated gazes and silent communication reconsiders the allegory of Plato’s cave for the Cybernetic age\, challenging the hiera rchies of the original parable. Downey’s phantasmagoria of shadows and feed back\, monitors and spectral projections reassesses our enslavement to sens orial experience\, anticipating the complexities of global electronic commu nication in which the image\, as one of the quotes from Plato states\, ‘is always a moving shadow of something else.’

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Part of the series < /span> The Tanks: Art in Action

DTEND:20121026 DTSTAMP:20140417T095958 DTSTART:20121023 GEO:51.5081675;-0.0951608 LOCATION:Tate Modern\,Bankside \nLondon\, SE1 9TG SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:JUAN DOWNEY\, Juan Downey UID:231814 END:VEVENT BEGIN:VEVENT DTEND:180000 DTSTAMP:20140417T095958 DTSTART:100000 GEO:51.5081675;-0.0951608 LOCATION:Tate Modern\,Bankside \nLondon\, SE1 9TG SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:JUAN DOWNEY\, Juan Downey UID:231815 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR