Mexico loves anyone who knows, who apprehends and who appropriates Mexico’s own very distinct cultural and social dynamics. Those who’ve learned to love the country, who’ve trodden through its years, decades and centuries will dwell in it forever: from its murky origins, to its wars, interventions and demonstrations. But the meaning of the word Mexico is ever a question unanswered.
Museums, history classes and geography lessons all classes teach the mythological and historical origins of the great Mexico-Tenochtitlan, but always there are hidden, and suspiciously beautiful origins -to the the country, and to the meaning of the word Mexico, too. Among these hidden histories is the origin of the City of Mexico as “the navel of the moon.”
Among the theories for the origin of this idea is one which came up in one of the conferences of the Mexican Society of Geography and Statistics. Dr. Gutierre Tibón, a naturalized Mexican of Italian origins, explained his hypothesis about the meaning of “Mexico.” According to Tibón, the word is of aztekatl origin. Dissecting it, one learns that meztli means “moon” – and xictli means “navel.” Everything thus becomes clear: Mexico means nothing more than “place in the navel of the moon.” It is said that even upon being asked “Where are you from?” the inhabitant of this Valley of Mexico would answer that they came from “the navel of the moon.”
The navel then came to be associated with a site of political, commercial, economic and social importance, each of them demonstrated in the four directions of the universe. The highest of these was heaven, the thirteenth, the tlalxico, not only the navel of this world, but of one beyond. As a hole, deep and grouped with others, was founded where the rabbit of the moon was reflected and expanded over an island in the great Lake Texcoco. Never fully knowing this, the place became the seat of the soul and the point of the greatest spirituality in Mesoamerica, and the place of cosmic harmony that emanates from a divine fire.
Does this explain the whole meaning of the word Mexico? By 1966, Dr. Juan Luna Cardenas presented a lecture “Mexico, a study of its meaning,” which explains the Aztekatl, the name of a race who spread throughout the Americas. It was one branch of a larger main tribe: the Aztekatl -Tultekatl. Although the Aztekatl consisted of multiple clans, the culture was centered in the city of Tula, in present day Hidalgo state. A major invasion of tribes of Atapazkah, Apache and Navajo tribes from further north, forced the Aztekatl-Tultekatl to separate and to resettle in disparate parts of the country.
While one of those tribes considered Metzitli, the moon, as a protector, their human leader, one “Witzilo Poctli” that is “Huitzilopochtli,” was distinguished as a great warrior. Carrying a trident, he led his people to join with another tribe called the Wewe Tenockatl, and together they the Tultekatl Confederation against invasion by barbarians at the battle of Tultitlan. The Metzitli and Tenockatl then in alliance sought a new place to settle, and the resulting settlement was thus “Metzikatl-Tenockatl.”
Metziko-Tenoctitlan was then “the place of the Metzikah, Metzitli followers, those who were entrusted to the Moon” and the “place of Tenockatl.” In the words of Dr. Luna, “the name of our country, attaches meaning to the history of the people who founded the great city of Metziko- Tenoçtitlan and who were Aztekatl by race and Metzikatl Tultekatl by clan.” The decorative written “x” came because the Spanish conquerors reduced the name of the great city of “Metziko” to “Mexico” because at the time the letter x was pronounced as a / sh /, resembling what they heard in the spoken language of the people at that time. In later centuries, the x sound was changed to / h /, (j in Spanish) and hence, even on the the Old Continent it was written as ‘Mejico.’
Art and technology are two faces of human creativity, two that are also closely related, despite the differences they apparently have with each other. What art does on many occasions has been achieved thanks to a specific technical development, a technology whose existence allows the artists to enhance or limit their creative work. Yes, it conditions it, but possibly also encourages it to transcend those limitations.
In this sense, the relationship between one and another human activities could be found in virtually any era, but it is certainly in recent times when technology has a presence, so persistent, somehow so inescapable, that art has been benefited for incorporating it. Both as a resource, an instrument, as part of the examination of contemporary reality, when many of our practices and interactions almost necessarily pass through a technological device.
Thus, somehow the ideal professed by Nietzsche on the need to transform life in a work of art, but this time through art and technology. Somehow the aesthetic sensibility, the discovery of the admirable or the frankly beautiful that any of us can perceive, finds a vehicle, a means of transmission and expression in how art can be magnified through technology.
Nowadays, it is becoming more and more complex to achieve high levels of consciousness, and to create a community without being outside of technology, but ww can use it as a tool to improve our sensitive abilities. To the same extent that we depend on technology to survive, it has become part of our lives, even in its most spiritual and even transcendental recesses. Art, now more than ever, demands to be a vehicle to explore different states that bring us closer to the dimensions of the infinite
Ilumina is an installation created by the artist Pablo Gonzalez Vargas, who through a deep exploration with the power of interconnectivity, proposes a method to improve the energy field of the planet. Pablo Gonzalez created a majestic interactive sculpture of light and sound that is activated by the emotional states of people, generating a beautiful light show and a sound landscape where the participants enter a state of coherence and deep harmony with themselves and with each other.
Ilumina is a metallic art monument, completed with aluminum and LED lights that together form an architectural piece full of harmony. The piece of art combines technology with a design of ancient wisdom. Ilumina has a program that responds to external stimuli, being able to shine more while more “coherent” is the group that hosts, generating a unique shared experience.
Ilumina is a chilling visual experience, and the volunteers who participate in the exercise of meditative immersion that lasts three minutes, are transported to a state of coherence and deep harmony with themselves, with their fellow participants and with the cosmos through a patented fusion of modern technology and transpersonal art.
The biometric sensors are connected to the ear lobes of each participant, which measures their unique state of coherence and averages them together. This is how lighting design and moving soundscapes respond to a unique algorithm, a product of HeartMath that uses biometric sensors for personal self-training in the regulation of emotional states where the sculpture becomes brighter to the extent that the users experiment with their emotions.
The team that created Ilumina included about 20 people from different disciplines and contributions. There was a large industrial design team that shaped the exact model that was taken to manufacturing. Marco Kalach worked with an expert manufacturing workshop, because as it is a public use facility in particular events, it had to comply with all the rules, structural regulations and with protection codes. The executive producer of the project was Gaby Vargas, who was responsible for the expertise at HeartMath, and joined by mexican musicians and audio engineers to make the experience of 360 degrees of immersive sound, led by Billy Mendez. The lighting team, directed by Paolo Montiel, coordinated all the programming and lighting design that makes symbiosis with the audio.
It was at Burning Man 2012, where Pablo Gonzalez Vargas created an art car called Mayan Warrior: a luminescence project and a spectacular audio show featuring pieces by the artist Alex Gray and musical performances by elite artists from Mexico and around the world.
In the penultimate edition of Burning Man, Pablo Gonzalez and his team decided to go a step beyond the great proposal that is Mayan Warrior, by presenting Ilumina, this piece of sacred geometry that radiates not only light but an algorithmic sacrality, it’s as mystical and hypnotic as an art piece can get. The tower of almost 12 meters high illuminated the Nevada desert at the Burning Man Festival 2017, and users managed to enter a mental state full of concentration characterized by a complete absorption, a wonderful moment of loss of the notion of spacetime.
It is expected that later there will be replicas of these sculptures, so that they can reach new locations around the world, and we can experience this amazing spectacle of light and the soundscape that connects us with the profound mysticism that exists in ourselves and that highlights the interconnectivity of our planet with the global energy fields.
Here are some photos of this beautiful project, in which lies the probability of a coherent and luminous future that would be worth living.
If you want to know more about this beautiful project or about the creative artist and allies that integrate it, visit their social media channels:
Though the internet makes lots more information available to lots more people, Mexico City libraries have simply not been supplanted. Charged with continually re-inventing themselves, and their places in the public imagination, one can still encounter eras gone by and great historical minds in a library as in few other places.
Knowledge, after all, belongs to everyone. Opening a book, reading it at a study, or just meeting in the silence of one these Mexico City libraries enhances concentration, and provides a welcome respite from everything going on out there in the world.
Of all Mexico City libraries, the oldest were part of the church and one or another of its offshoot organizations. Among these was the Colegio de Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco, founded in the 1530s and surviving today as the Biblioteca José María Lafragua. Most of these ecclesiastical libraries were not truly open to the public, and Mexico had to wait for the National Library of Mexico, inaugurated by Benito Juárez in 1867 to enjoy the benefits of a truly public library system.
The list below is intended to let you enjoy some of that system, too.
Opened just ten years ago, in 2006, the Vasconcelos is visited by thousands for the sheer spectacle of its innovative design. Graced by the iconic whale from artist, Gabriel Orozco, it’s always a good library for art and visual spectacle. The facade retains something of a colonial appearance, but for sheer scale, and jaw-dropping space, the interior must be experienced.
We’ve written a lot about it in these pages, but the UNAM library with the Juan O’Gorman murals remains one of the most outstanding of all Mexico City libraries. As a UNESCO site with some 428,000 volumes in the collection, it’s the biggest in Mexico, but lots of folks visit just to see the facade and the surrounding grounds.
Opened by Benito Juárez in 1867, there’s still a good one million books inside, today administered by the folks from UNAM. Originally located in the San Agustín church in the city center, the current building was opened in 1979. Geometric, and massive, it’s an extraordinary place to visit.
Specializing in economic materials, this collection of some 86,350 books and 114,852 journals is administered by the Secretary of Finance and Public Credit. Founded in 1928, it’s one of the cities true public art spectacles. Inside the main nave of the old Oratory of San Felipe Neri “El Nuevo,” the baroque façade outside is just the beginning. Inside, the murals are futuristic, and not to be missed.
One of Centro’s truly outstanding historical buildings, for centuries it was the convent of the Clarisas from the 16th century. Today it’s something like a “Library of Congress” with a stunning collection of publications and artifacts, but also with a lush, deep, dark intellectual interior, that beckons from centuries past.
Address: Tacuba 29, Centro Histórico
Photographs this page: Flickr – Creative Commons