Woven Heaven, Tangled Earth

Introduction

Long before Europeans arrived, the Indigenous People of Latin America had developed design traditions that embodied several mathematical and computational ideas. These were often conceived as existing in two categories:

Order from above

  • Four-fold symmetry: very similar to the Cartesian coordinate system, but also symbolizing cosmological beliefs.
  • Algorithms: the sequence of instructions that create specific patterns

Disorder from below

  • Randomness: in contrast to the order of predictable patterns, these visualize nature’s diversity and unpredictability
  • Eulerian paths: these designs often symbolize the spatial complexity of labyrinths and organic forms