(Santiago, 1940 – Nueva York, 1993)
Regarded as a pioneer in video art, Downey also worked with other media, including drawing, installation, performance, and painting. The work The Laughing Alligator (1979) is part of his series “Video Trans Américas”, which he begun in 1971 but was never completed due to the artist’s untimely death in 1993. That body of work consists of more than thirty videos and installations. Created while Downey was living with a Yanomami community in the Amazon, the piece shifts between a conventional documentary and a sort of self-ethnography, made with complete awareness of the limits of objectivity. In his encounters with the Yanomami people, the artist imparts essential information for both parties: his camera is never used as a weapon.