The evolution of #NewMayaLanguage, 2014 in blogging

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Crunchy numbers

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,900times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

There were 20 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 16 MB. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was May 6th with 173 views. The most popular post that day was “Frida Larios: Businesswoman, Artisan, Preservationist” #NewMayaLanguage Feature Interview by Hat Trick Magazine, UK.

Posting Patterns

In 2014, there were 8 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 130 posts.

Attractions in 2014

These are the posts that got the most views in 2014. You can see all of the year’s most-viewed posts in your Site Stats.

Some of your most popular posts were written before 2014. Your writing has staying power! Consider writing about those topics again.

Where did they come from?

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That’s 101 countries in all!
Most visitors came from The United States. France & Mexico were not far behind.

Who were they?

Your most commented on post in 2014 was Children’s book: The Village that was Buried by an Erupting Volcano by @fridalarios

New Year with New Pizza Language

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Starting the year with a light and hands-on post–by rolling dough for pizza. My friend Laura gave me the recipe when I was staying with her in Italy.

Paul, my brother-in-law, made a delicious Maranzano tomatoes salsa with marjoram.  Ingredients were added on the flat bases and were stone-baked in his special ceramic smoker.

Pizza numero uno composition: mozzarella, cheddar, mascarpone, bacon, and, rosemary. Pizza numero dos: mozzarella, prime-rib strips from new year’s eve dinner, shallots, and, rosemary.

And here are the pictures–of course Tyler and Yax helped with the preparations.

2010 in review

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The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured imageA Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,200 times in 2010. That’s about 13 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 31 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 66 posts. There were 102 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 22mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was June 17th with 195 views. The most popular post that day was Honoured to be named an INDIGO Ambassador.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Honoured to be named an INDIGO Ambassador June 2010
10 comments

2

Frida October 2009
5 comments

3

My New Maya Hieroglyphs in children’s text book in France June 2010

4

Museo del Hombre Hondureño March 2010

WildHeart Vision

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It all comes back to indigenous design – at least in my world.

WildHeart-Vision-Logo

New Maya Language© pictogram turned logo for WildHeart Vision

WildHeart Vision is a multimedia production company that intends to gather the greatest archive of ancient indigenous wisdom documentaries from around the world.  WildHeart Vision might become one of the Helsinki 2012 World Design Capital partners, so they asked for a testimonial linking innovation and indigenous-inspired design.  This was my quote related to my New Maya Language work used in their proposal:

The Maya hieroglyphic language did not only record the political and transcendent affairs.  The script was carefully conceived and designed by multi-talented artists and wisemen, themselves carriers of the knowledge they wrote about, expressed through different media: stone murals, steles and sculptures, ceramics, utilitarian products, jewellery, and books.  There seems to be little difference with practicing designers today, except that our profession is not as valued as in ancestral times.  T heir profession was indeed royal. Like Michael D. Coe says: “Maya artists could be kings.”

Design as life

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The National Museum visit helped me expand my understanding of Finnish culture.

Finland has been the spine of the Nordic modernism international- influential style.  It started rising since the 18th century and by the mid 20th century a solid Finnish modernist movement was in place, even though the country had remained relatively agrarian and politically neutral until this time and didn’t enjoy the quality of life and economic dynamism that it boasts today.

The works of the world-acclaimed Alvar Aalto and other notable Finnish architects shaped and reconstructed the face of Finland since after World War II.  This sway expanded beyond architecture to inspire a 20th century interior and industrial design revolution that took over, specially northern, Europe during the 1990’s–epitomised through publications such as Wallpaper (English trend magazine). Then Europe overcame it, Japan naturally mastered it – so far so-called “minimalism” is still expressed, and quite frankly worn out, around the world today as a symbol of sophistication.

With a population of 5.4 million, according to a Le Monde (French newspaper) review, there is a suggestion that

“Finland has more great architects in relation to population than any other country in the world.”

Beyond design, I would say contemporary Finland feels and is much less Viking than its Scandinavian neighbours and more Russian / Eastern than the rest of Europe. Surely a bridge between the west and the east, it maintains a balanced philosophy in key areas: culture, politics, economics, health and education.  Finland has been ranked the second most stable country in the world, barely affected by the global economic fall.

Marimekko-Airport

Marimekko a landmark of Finnish design

Design has definitely been an integral part of Finland’s embedded innovation culture that has led to prosperity.  With global-leading brands such as Nokia, Kone and Marimekko, first class education such as University of Art and Design Helsinki – it is not surprising that it will become the World Design Capital host in 2012.

Dream Homes – Dollhouses at the National Museum

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This small exhibit was taking place at the National Museum and I found myself more interested in this than the permanent ones.  Curiosity killed the cat.

The oldest known dollhouses, dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, were neither utility objects nor toys, but were instead meant to be viewed and admired in curiosity cabinets.  Curiosity cabinets depicted the universe with displays of oddities and strange objects, and a small dollhouse represented command of the miniature world.

Imitating reality, the items in dollhouses were miniature replicas of real objects.  Dollhouses are therefore valuable sources of cultural history, as the objects in them may sometimes be the only surviving examples of the interior decoration of past eras.  Until the second half of the 19th century, however, dollhouses remained a luxury item available only to wealthy families and their children.

Play is children’s work
After the Second World War the architect Elsi Borg designed a miniature home called “Leikkilä” for the Kotilliesi women’s magazine.  With this publication, the practice gained a supposedly educational approach for the children to learn about the world of adults.  For example, girls, and girls only, could learn about the responsibility for housework and chores, even though it was the “boys”, fathers or grandfathers, whose task was to construct the dollhouses.

The exhibition featured thirteen dollhouses from the 19th and 20th centuries.  There is a claimed comeback in designing and building the dollhouses in Finland. So by the end, the exhibition showed some modern dollhouses designed and made by Diakonia College’s preparatory programme for vocational training and elderly people.

“My dream home is an urban apartment where I would live with my fiancé.  Music is important to me.  My dream home also reflects my freedom form the church.” Rattmaster, a 17 year-old says of her mini living-room design (shown at bottom).

I found this exhibition quite kitsch and somewhat egotistic since, the children who should be the real “home dreamers” where just left to “see and learn” from them – I am saying this from an outsiders point of view and don’t mean to upset the culture.  You do have to admire the true work of careful craft they involved though, and a certain beauty and charm.  My favourite part were the young students’ dream home designs, they somewhat seemed more down to earth and real.

Made in China or designed in China?

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I read this very interesting article on the International Herald Tribune by Alice Rawsthorn that presented the brand identity work of graphic designer, Central Academy of Fine Arts (where I exhibited my work at ‘Beijing Typography’ last November) graduate, Liu Zhizhi. His work and ideas are a parallel with my Amsterdam via KLM post that puts in perspective how design is a motor for the creation of national symbols that speak to contemporary citizens and is not just part of museums or ruins.

Liu Zhizhi has created a logo for Brand New China, BCN like he calls it, which is a new shop at a new hoping-to-become trendy shopping centre, Sanlitun’s Village North, probably the next 798 District (see previous blogpost). The botanical drawings depicted on the logo are mint, grains of sticky rice and a leek, all of them representatives of a traditional Chinese home kitchen and which first letters in Chinese are BCN. He has also used beautiful printing and paper-making techniques, typical of Chinese craft to devise the shop’s image.

“An important difference between China and the West is that we respond to things instinctively,” he said. “Westerners often want to understand things by rationalizing them, whereas we just feel and know. Our relationship to visual culture is intuitive and fluid.”
“You can see that in the BNC identity, but there are other very obvious Chinese elements in it,” he continued. “Not so much if you look at the symbols individually, but when you see them together. For example, the two main images, the mint and leek, are facing you flat on the page. The way the space is filled up is very Chinese, too. You can see both of those elements in traditional Chinese painting.”

Through his work, even though a drop in the ocean of all the Chinese sub-standard design out there, he intends to revive the visual excellency that his artists’ ancestors developed through centuries.  I think there is simplicity in his design, nonetheless, the narrative behind it is very unique and culturally rooted.

China-Designs

China designs

Liu-Zhizhi-BCN

Visual identity designed by Liu Zhizhi©

Amsterdam via KLM

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On my brief passing via Amsterdam, the Dutch made sure me and everyone who does gets a sentiment for their “Dutchness” or shall I call it “Delftness”. This is not a critique as I think it was a refreshing take on expressing traditional and somewhat clichéd icons with a modern twist.

I wish I had said hola to my friend Nicolette who owns one of my paintings.

Economy with a taste of First

Economy with a taste of First

Giant Delftware

Giant Delftware

Typographical lamp

Holland Boulevard

Frida and her beach volleyball

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I don’t only dedicate to inventing a new maya language – I also have a hobby and passion since 1996 – beach volleyball.

My all-time partner Ana, an architect, and I were dedicated part-time beach volleyball professionals as well as pursuing our own careers until 2001 when we won a beach volleyball gold medal for our country El Salvador at Central American Games. Since then we have been on and off playing when our families and work allow.

Ana and me decided to practice and play together again for the on-going Golden Beach International NORCECA Grand Prix where the sponsor has set-up a sand court in the middle of the best shopping mall in San Salvador.

This time the press published a nice article about our come back titled – “Back to the sand – The pioneers of El Salvadorean beach volleyball re-encounter for this grand event.”

I will let you read the article published by La Prensa Gráfica, in Spanish though. We beat Trinidad and Tobago today but it’s a tough competition and we are doing it for fun and for El Salvador of course.

Double page-spread honouring our career together.