Canal Convergence seeks to challenge artists to find our collective common ground through public art. For Canal Convergence 2020, we endeavor to address themes of inclusion, communication, collaboration, and community engagement alongside our perennial focus on Water + Art + Light, sustainability, and water conservation.
Kukulkan’s Portal is our most recent art project. It is composed of two geometric shapes, an acrylic merkabah (stellated octahedron) enclosed in an aluminum cube. The design is meant to show the geometric relationship between the merkabah and the cube. Kukulkan’s Portal is a modular geometric sculpture in honor of the new discoveries made in mathematics and science. Although the cube and the stellated octahedron shapes are not new to mathematics, researchers have claimed to have invented a new class of equilateral convex polyhedra. (Read more about that below)
The merkabah is entirely constructed of translucent lexan multi-wall sheets encased in industrial strength resins. The “back” of the triangles will be lined with LEDs facing forward. The cube is made from aluminum truss and skinned with laser cut design of kukulkan and other mayan symbols. The cube also contains LEDs and can be controlled separately from the merkaba.
The sculpture is 18ft cubed and contains 10,000 individually programmable LED’s that make the merkabah glow like a giant marble crystal and the cube glow like a futuristic mayan space portal.
Ideally, we would like to stand the project on a point. Second Phase funding would make this feasible while also adding a mediation platform in the middle of the merkabah. At full height, the project on its point would stand over 40ft tall.
Footprint: 18.4ft x 18.4ft at base
Height: 26.6 ft
Electrical Draw: 2,000watts
Weight: 2,500 lbs
Heavy Equipment: Reach Fork and Boom/Scissor-lift
Other Notes: Needs 3,000 lbs of weights or lag bolts to
secure the base to the ground.
2020 (Nov. 6 – 15) Canal Convergence
2020 (Present) Toronto Light Festival
“Kukulkan’s Portal,” by American artist Abram Santa Cruz, is made up of a giant acrylic merkaba (a Hebrew symbol consisting of two intersecting tetrahedrons) enclosed in an aluminum frame. It’s full of spiritual references: the merkaba represents a higher consciousness, and the design references Kukulkan, the Mayan serpent to be the portal between the physical and spiritual worlds:
Abram Santa Cruz comes from Mayan descent via his paternal grandfather, who came from a tribe that is of mayan descent about 2 hours south of Mexico City near the city of Puebla. Kukulkan’s Portal is dedicated to the memory of his late grandfather who passed away in August of 2020. Abram wanted to tune in with that part of his heritage in designing this project because of his fascination with the Mayan culture and history. The Merkabah also has deep rooted spiritual connections in various theologies and cultures from around the world that attribute the shape to a sense of enlightenment and spiritual evolution.
Abram Santa Cruz chose Kukulkan to represent the encompassing cube to the merkabah because of its encompassing theological meaning in Mayan and Aztec culture. Kukulkan was known to be the conduit between the physical world in the spiritual world for the human soul. “Kukulkan is the Mayan Feathered Serpent god of wind, sky, rain and Sun. He is also the creator that gave mankind his learning and laws.” Source.
‘Spiritually, the Merkabah (stellated octahedron or dual tetrahedra), also spelled Merkaba, is the divine light vehicle allegedly used by ascended masters to connect with and reach those in tune with the higher realms. “Mer” means Light. “Ka” means Spirit. “Ba” means Body. Mer-Ka-Ba means the spirit/body surrounded by counter-rotating fields of light, (wheels within wheels), spirals of energy as in DNA, which transports spirit/body from one dimension to another.’ Source
Combining Kukulkan with the merkabah made perfect theological sense as we plan on adding a meditation platform at the center of the merkabah. By providing a meditation platform, Kukulkan can take the visitor on a journey into themselves and transcend into higher realms.
Kukulkan’s Portal is a modular geometric sculpture in honor of the new discoveries made in mathematics and science. Although the cube and the stellated octahedron shapes are not new to mathematics, researchers have claimed to have invented a new class of equilateral convex polyhedra.
“Since Plato’s work, two other classes of equilateral convex polyhedra, as the collective of these shapes are called, have been found: Archimedean solids (including truncated icosahedron) and Kepler solids (including rhombic polyhedra). Nearly 400 years after the last class was described, researchers claim that they may have now invented a new, fourth class, which they call Goldberg polyhedra.” Source
Polyhedra falls into the Kepler solids category and worked as a stepping stone to the new findings.
Kukulkan’s Portal is lined with 10,000 programmable LEDs. The lights will be embedded within the acrylic layers of the merkaba. The aluminum cube truss is lined with strands of LEDs and is diffused with lexan panels behind the lasercut design of kukulkan on aluminum skins. The LED’s are individually programmable, which combined with the right hardware and software, can be made to be highly interactive.
Currently, we have the ability to make the lighting patterns sound or music reactive and we can apply hardware which would allow the light sequences to be manipulated with physical movement.
Takes a crew of 6 – 8 people and 3 days to assemble and light test. Requires a reach fork light and a man lift as heavy equipment.