Monday, August 13, 2012

Victoria Lenoirre's Review of August LEA Full Sim by Cajska Carlsson Uaxuctum

Up at LEA6 this month is Uaxuctum. It opened on August 6th at 3pm SLT.

Her grand build was inspired by Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi. Uaxuctum, composed in 1966,  is about "the legend of the Maya city, destroyed by themselves for religious reasons." Uaxuctum actually "corresponds to an actual Maya city in Peten, Guatemala which flourished during the first millenium AD; in addition, the Mexican state of Oaxaca comes from the same anciet meso-American root, according to an article I found on You should read more at that link to learn more.

You will hear parts of the musical piece while you are here at LEA6. It is said to be Scelsi's most dramatic and unusual composition.

Uaxuctum landing point

Aerial view

If you would like to hear the whole composition, you only need to head over to youtube. The piece is divided into 5 movements.

When you land here, your eyes are met with a splash of bright colors. There are bright pinks, purples, white, orange, green...and they glow. Make sure to view in Ultra graphics. The luminescence is fabulous.

As you can see from the pictures I've posted above, the build is made up of so many circles. If you visit, you will see that the circles are arranged like stairs and stepping stones. You will also find plants and something  that looks like a fiery furnace. Don't just take my word for it, see it with your own eyes!

My interview with her is below; my words are in bold lettering. Her creation and motivation for the sim is clever and thoughtful. Her answers were detailed and intriguing. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Where are you from?

Liverpool, UK

Why did you use so many bright colors? Most people who think of old cultures like the Mayans or Aztecs think of old, dull textures and colors. Also, Scelsi's composition sounds heavy and brooding.

My work is a subjective perspective of Uaxuctum. Rather than viewing the city as a set of grey ruins, I wanted to think of the Mayans as their contemporary, the city as a vibrant, living place. Scelsi's piece is heavy and brooding. It reflects the destruction of the city viewed in hindsight, after the fact. My aim was to show the other half to what Scelsi was expressing, rather than the destruction itself, that which would be destroyed. It is difficult to miss what you do not know.

Did you or someone in your family play music?

I am a musician, a performer and composer. I play violin and perform experimental music using found objects and effects. I come from a musical background. My father plays the violin and my mother used to sing in choirs.

How do you know of Scelsi?

I discovered Scelsi's music a few years ago and was particularly struck by Uaxuctum, which seemed to share a similar aesthetic to my own to some extent: the continuously evolving soundscapes and dynamic emotional journey; his interest in microtonality and textural music.

If you had been a Mayan so many millenia ago and you felt like the world was changing so fast, would you destroy your civilization as they did or would you keep it alive so that all can see it in its entirety?

That's an interesting question. Personally, I like change, though change comes in many forms and flavours, some less palatable than others. It's difficult to know what I would do in that situation, however one thing is clear, that if the Mayans had tried to preserve their living culture, it would not have been seen in its entirety afterward. The invading Europeans destroyed much of the indigenous culture of South America. The city on which Uaxuctum was based would never have survived anyway.

The Mayans calendar ends this December. Why do you think that is?

I think there is a lot of modern-day myth surrounding the Mayans' calendar. Many forms of New Age mysticism have a view of 'ancient knowledge' that we have been too corrupted or blinded to see. The Mayans believed they were living in the fourth age of creation, each age being measured in units of 13. However, there is nothing in any Mayan texts that suggests the end of the world with the end of the fourth age. There are dates mentioned in Mayan literature that go further into the future than the fourth age. Indeed, one stele found at Coba gives a date which is 41 octillion years in the future, 3 quintillion times the age of the universe.


That is my review about Cajska Carllson's Uaxuctum here at LEA6. Please swing by and have a look at all the sights here. Let the music wash over you and cause your mind to wander.

As always, have fun and enjoy the art!

- Victoria Lenoirre


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