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DER "MAYA" ZUG

in collaboration with IQ BALAM - Juan José Chiriz Cuat and the collective Recherche AG

Installation in the urban and digital space, 2022

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The Maya Zug Project is a transdisciplinary and collaborative project that seeks to question the lens through which we see and analyze the world and our reality.

What is progress? Are mega-infrastructures really synonymous with progress? What roles play science in our perception of the world? Is there another narrative, that has been erased during the colonial project, that offers an alternative way of reading and perceiving reality and new possibilities for coexisting with other-than-human beings?

The dominant narrative has historically silenced a large and complex variety of stories, tales and fables that tell a subversive and resistant narrative. These stories subvert and re-create what the Western academy puts forward as valid ways of knowing and present alternatives to it.


The exchange and research between myself and the Mayan scholar and indigenous leader IQ BALAM - Juan José Chiriz Cuat results in a symbolic image and story that re-interprets big neoliberal projects from an indigenous perspective. These mega-infrastructures built in indigenous territories and financed by Western transnational corporations reproduce and reiterate colonial dynamics. This is the case of the "Maya" Train, which is being built in Mexico. The story narrated by IQ BALAM has its roots in Mayan mythology and raises new perspectives on how we should re-think and decolonise our relationship with other-than-human beings in response to the troubled Anthropocene era in which we find ourselves.


Through the QR CODE in the image, people can access and listen to an audio with this story and access a web page with information and inspiration sources on the topic.

Listen to the story here:

Visit the website for more information:   https://www.mayazugproject.com/

During the exhibition ‘THIS IS NOT A LOVE SONG - Räume für Aktivierung’ (Galerie M, Berlin, 2022), funded by the the Senate Department for Culture and Europe of Berlin and by the Commission for Artistic and Scientific Projects (KKWV) of the UdK Berlin, a programme of open-air evenings was presented to accompany the installation. Outdoor film screenings and information evenings on the topic were curated by me and were realised in cooperation with the collective Recherche AG and with the neighbourhood association BENN - Berlin Entwickelt Neue Nachbarschaften.

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COLLABORATOR BIO: Juan José Chiriz Chat, Maya name IQ BALAM, is a Maya priest, activist and musician from the Maya Kaqchikel community. He is a researcher in ancestral knowledge and natural medicine. He studied 'Rights of Indigenous Peoples' and is involved in transmitting knowledge of Mayan spirituality and preserving indigenous culture in various NGOs and local art academies.  He has been a lecturer at national and international level on topics such as Mayan cosmovision, ancestral knowledge, good living and indigenous peoples' rights and a member of inter-institutional state roundtables on indigenous peoples and climate change.

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