Text by CLOT Magazine
Reweaving Ourselves: Contemporary Ecology through the Ideas of Juan Downey is the second online conference organized by the Cisneros Institute at MoMA and conceived by guest curator Julieta González as part of a three-year research initiative on the relationships between art and the environment in Latin America.
Taking place on Wednesday 18 Nov 2020, 5:00–6:00 p.m (EST), the conference takes as a point of departure a series of technological, anthropological, and political issues raised by the work and writings between the mid-’60s and the early ’80s of late Chilean artist Juan Downey in order to generate a discussion on the way artists, theoreticians, feminist thinkers, ecologists, and climate change activists, among many others, are rethinking Latin America at the present.
In a 1973 essay published in Radical Software magazine, titled Technology and Beyond, Juan Downey stated that “cybernetic technology operating in synchrony with our nervous systems is the alternative life for a disoriented humanity.” Furthermore, Downey’s early drawings explored the possibilities of human-machine ensembles, an interest that led to experiments in interspecies communication and the creation of self-organizing ecological systems in his home and gallery spaces, among many other projects.
In this session, artist Eduardo Kac will present his explorations of bio-art and his work in the context of an expanded conception of ecology. Architectural historian Felicity Scott will speak about the impact of cybernetics on the artistic production of the ’60s and ’70s and her particular research on the work of Juan Downey and Les Levine. They will engage in a conversation on the present-day relations between art, architecture, technology, and ecology.