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Xipe Tótec

with Thomas Glassford


Variable dimensions LEDs, aluminium conduits, nuts and bolts, electrical hardware
Installation view, Tlatelolco Cultural University Center,
CDMX, Mexico

An invisible web by day is set aflame at night in a luminous pattern as complex as the history of the installation’s site: Tlatelolco. This Mexico City neighborhood was built during the Aztec period in 1300, and since then, it has been layered with constructions of the diverse cultures that have occupied it. Prehispanic pyramids, a colonial church, and a modernist complex all coexist simultaneously in its central plaza.

In this context, Xipe Tótec stands as an architectural intervention, adding one more layer to the four facades of an iconic tower originally built as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. To celebrate its transition into a Cultural Center, Thomas Glassford and DENA created a red and blue veil of neon-like LEDs based on the geometry of quasicrystals and aperiodic tiling. In the 1970s, Western scientists, including Roger Penrose, “discovered” these patterns as a mathematical conundrum, but then quasicrystal formations were found to exist in nature and used in the tiles of Persian mosques as early as the 12th Century.

An installation by Thomas Glassford, in collaboration with Gaby López Dena

Engineering: Grupo SAI
LED’s: Brilante Iluminación Electrical project: Instalaciones León