Paging Ruben Ortiz-Torres. What would he say about this?
Above, a nighttime shot of a pyramid in the tiny village of Ixcateopan, high in the sierra of Guerrero state, Mexico. As you can see from the people sitting on the steps, the pyramid is about 50 or 60 feet high. Atop is a dramatic statue of Cuauhtemoc, the last Aztec emperor.
This pyramid is not an archeological site. It is not more than 500 years old. It was built between 1985 or 1986, by a local artist, in honor of Cuauhtemoc. The last tlatonai's bones are said to rest on the "Altar de la Patria" inside the Ex-parroquia de Santa María de la Asunción, in town.
I visited Ixcateopan this week for the annual celebration of Cuauhtemoc's birthday, Feb. 23, c. 1495. More on that later.
For now, let me just say that this postmodern pyramid high in the Guerrero mountains messed with my head. It is hollow. Concheros visiting for the festival had set up sleeping tents inside, a sight I never thought I'd see: men and women in full neo-Aztec dress, in the bowels of a pyramid. Directly under the apex, a bandita of small boys approached; one wanted to sell me on a huge block of unrefined quartz for just 25 pesos -- a precious stone a good two kilos heavy and probably worth several hundred dollars in the U.S.
We climbed the pyramid's steps and sat on top and contemplated the cosmos. I was half-expecting a UFO to appear, or an earthquake to strike. I contemplated the pyramid. Why was it built? What are its uses? What meaning can we make of it in this future-context?
* More soon.