XYZ LIGHTS UP-William Ramirez Pizarro

May 10, 2013

XYZ Cultural Technology created both the 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.”

A dynamic visual and audio panorama
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.

An architectural lighting system
In addition to this “mapping video” system, XYZ produced the architectural lighting system for 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 came up with a programmable lighting system composed of 70 projectors, capable of reproducing the movement of the tree’s foliage at night.

XYZ: technology dedicated to culture
Created by two multimedia technology experts, Eric Cyr and Jacques Larue, XYZ Cultural Technology has taken on the mission of offering designers of all kinds the technological means to realize their creative ambitions. “We want to help creators surpass their limits,” explains Larue, “whether it is an international artist who asks us to produce a giant dynamic fresco, a curator who wants to make her exhibition an immersive experience, or a hospital director who wants to create an event around one of his departments.”

Architects: William Ramirez Pizarro
Photography: Tamara Uribe

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