Generative Labyrinths Based on Wayana and Aparai Graphic Art

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Abstract

References to labyrinths and their structures and constructions have been part of the imaginary of several cultures and eras. One finds records of mazes in cave paintings, mythologies, art, and world heritage monuments. In the last century, authors like Carroll, Borges, and Eco have woven relations between labyrinths and the narrative structure of fiction. Theorists have described network and navigation states and experiences in hypermedia environments as well as thought structures based on analogies and the study of labyrinths. The symbolic meaning of the labyrinth and its representations is here associated with the symbolic meaning of the graphic art found in the Brazilian native Wayana and Aparai cultures of Pará. Many graphic representations have visual structures and geometries that refer to maze and labyrinth patterns, reason why relationships and the origin of these images were investigated. In our study, we identified that these patterns reflect the history of both cultures. They are inspired by mythical narratives based on labyrinthic spatial and geographical structures and orally transmitted stories; profound observations of the nature, fauna, and flora from an animistic perspective; the transfer of patterns, including patterns found in jaguar, snake, and caterpillar skins, among other animals; the variations and creativity of each artisan. Part of our challenge was the generative programming of labyrinths based on the drawings and graphic modules present in Wayana and Aparai cultures. The programming rigorously followed the known classical labyrinth typologies joined with the original drawings and graphic representations under study.