Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Brett Herbst´s maize landscape art vs Nazca Lines

These pictures posted at (Via Wired) caught my attention. Being a fan of archaeology, they vaguely reminded me of the Lines of Nazca in Peru, with the exception of the technology. Let´s read some paragraphs of two different posts to compare:

Spotted over at Wired Design, Brett Herbst might just be the King of Corn. He made his first corn maze in 1996, and since then he’s created over 2,000 spectacularly elaborate labyrinths as the founder of the company MAiZE. Using computer software, GPS technology, and a heck of a lot of imagination, Herbst has reinvented the traditional, autumn pastime into a work of art. As the one-time holder of the Guinness World Record for largest corn maize and the mastermind behind hundreds of sites across the country, Herbst has proven that he is head and shoulders above the rest of his field. As a Master of Maize, Brett Herbst puts an incredible amount of thought into each of his amazing pieces. Beginning with GPS coordinates and CorelDRAW design software, he marks out fields on a grid system that ranges in size from anywhere between 8-60 acres. Once marked out with flags, he spray-paints dots on the ground to indicate where the cuts in the corn crop should be made. Herbst’s crew then carves out the pathways with rototillers and riding lawn mowers. As if gigantic vegetable portraits of President Obama or Star Wars scenes were not enough to impress, Herbst also features words in the overall design of his mazes. He sometimes even uses “reverse cuts” in which the cornstalks themselves form blocked letters, creating positive space in the overall image.

The Nazca Lines are a series of geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert, a high arid plateau that stretches 53 miles or more than 80 kilometers between the towns of Nazca and Palpa on the Pampas de Jumana in Peru. They were created by the Nazca culture between 200 BC and AD 700. There are hundreds of individual figures, ranging in complexity from simple lines to stylized hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys and lizards. The Nazca lines cannot be recognized as coherent figures except from the air. Since it is presumed the Nazca people could never have seen their work from this vantage point, there has been much speculation on the builders' abilities and motivations.
Since their discovery, various theories have been proposed regarding the methods and motivations underlying the lines' construction. The archaeological explanation as to who made them and how is widely accepted; namely that the Nazca people made the lines using simple tools and surveying equipment. Wooden stakes in the ground at the end of some lines (which were used to carbon-date the figures) and ceramics found on the surface support this theory. Furthermore, researchers such as Joe Nickell of the University of Kentucky, have reproduced the figures using the technology available to the Nazca Indians of the time without aerial supervision. With careful planning and simple technologies, a small team of individuals could recreate even the largest figures within a couple of days.


Nazca Monkey. Picture by Maria Reiche

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