My Project

Question: What is a man [sic] walking down the road?

Answer: Time.

—traditional Maya riddle

This riddle concerns esoteric knowledge, not humor. It also exemplifies the fused space-time continuum in Maya thought and explicates how to understand the physical and metaphysical worlds. Space, buildings, and imagery were integrated into Maya civic-ceremonial centers—the loci of political theater and Becoming (in a Deleuzian sense)—and hence cannot be understood as discrete entities or images. Moreover, in Yucatan, Mexico, causeways and colonnades suggested ideal traffic flow and created panoramic views. The famous capital of Chichén Itzá (ca. 800-1150) features spatial-pictorial tableaux composed of pillars whose four vertical faces are carved with distinct individuals and which collectively formed panoramas that would have shifted according to position and movement. I will attempt to recreate some of these so-called paths of perception from in situ remains, archival photographs, and mapping technology. Rather than creating flashy fly-throughs that are akin to video games, my goal is to create walk-throughs of what people at Chichén plausibly saw. This would be an initial step in coming to terms with aesthetics, vision, and flexible three-dimensional visual-spatial experiences, in essence the unique flavor of Chichén visual culture. The results might further an understanding of embodiment, habitus, and place-memory, all of which involve dynamic rather than static experiential realms.

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