Who is shooting? Technological Representation and the Ideologies of Latin American Difference in Video Trans Americas by Juan Downey

  • Gonzalo Montero Virginia Tech


In his long-standing project Video Trans Americas (1973-1979), the Chilean artist Juan Downey video-recorded his encounters with marginal communities of the continent, such as peasants and indigenous people, in order to generate alternative and emancipatory forms of communication within Latin America. In this article, I argue that Video Trans Americas underlines the conflictive relation between the figure of the intellectual, representation, and cultural identity in the Latin American postcolonial context. By analyzing a specific video of the series, I argue that the whole project not only subverts the convention of ethnographic documentary, but also articulates a reflection on the position of the Latin American intellectuals and artists in relation to continental cultural difference.

Author Biography

Gonzalo Montero, Virginia Tech

Gonzalo Montero is Assistant Professor of Spanish at the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, Virginia Tech. His research interests are modern and contemporary literature and culture of Latin America, with a focus on Chile and the Southern Cone. His articles have appeared in Chasqui: revista de literatura latinoamericana, Textos Híbridos. Revista de Estudio sobre la crónica latinoamericana, Confluencia, Trasatlántica. Poetry and Scholarship, and Mapocho. He has edited three books in the Chilean press Cuarto Propio, the most recent being Revista de Artes y Letras (1918). Reedición (2016). 

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