XYZ lights up Maya culture, Mexico
Montreal-based designers, XYZ Cultural Technology, have designed the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya project. Completed in 2012, the contemporary building, a museum of Maya culture can be found in Mérida, Estado de Yucatán, Mexico.
XYZ Cultural Technology created both the technical concept and the programming for the multimedia installation that brings to life the night-time sound-and-light show projected on the façade of the new Gran Museo del Mundo Maya in Merida, Mexico. “It’s an immense, dynamic visual and audio panorama that traces the history of the Maya community,” explains Jacques Larue, partner at XYZ, “entrenched in the birth of the world and bearing the seeds of the Yucatán’s modern identity.”
The goal of the recently opened Gran Museo del Mundo Maya, with a collection of some 750,000 objects and 2,600 square metres of permanent and temporary gallery space, is to present Mayan civilization not as archaeological vestiges but as a living culture. Given this focus, Xavier de Richemont, a video painter known for his luminous compositions on the façades of churches and museums, has evoked Maya culture in a narrative that spans the birth of Earth, the history of humanity, and the emergence of contemporary societies, in the form of a huge animated fresco with an audio track of ancient and modern sounds.
XYZ’s multimedia installation offers visitors a chance to literally immerse themselves in this symbolic narrative. Sixteen high-definition projectors animate the upper part of the museum façade with a virtual strip that unfurls 34 giant tableaus composed of drawings, photographs, and graphic compositions by de Richemont. A long-range sound system, integrated into the building’s architecture, broadcasts the show’s music throughout the site.
In addition to this “mapping video” system, XYZ produced, in collaboration with Lightemotion, the architectural lighting of the building. To express the identity of Maya culture, the architectural firm Grupo Arquidecture chose to articulate the form of the building around that of the ceiba tree. Interlaced bars of metal evoke the trunk and foliage of the tree, which is sacred to the Maya. The designers at XYZ and Lightemotion came up with a programmable lighting system composed of 70 projectors, capable of reproducing the movement of the tree’s foliage at night.
Images courtesy of Tamara Uribe
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