February 01, 2007

If the Aztecs conquered Europe

Revisionist history with an acute vision

‘Mirror’ shows a Europe conquered by invaders from the Americas.Villacis proposes this alternate history in a mock museum exhibit that documents the conquest of Europe by the Aztecs through an array of fake artifacts and explanatory captions written in the simplistic, knowing tone of museumspeak. This is what Mexican schoolchildren might have seen on a field trip to the local museum had their Aztec ancestors colonized Europe, instead of the other way around.

In this world, there are no more Christians, leaving modern-day Amexicans to speculate about what god the natives of "U-rop" might have worshipped. "Entglitcz" is a lost language and Shakespeare completely forgotten. The Aztecs are just as cruel in victory as the Europeans were, enslaving the natives to build new cities on top of the ones they have destroyed.


Rob said...

I hadn't heard of the "Red Paint People," so I Googled them. Neither the top site nor Wikipedia mentions any voyages to Europe. If such voyages did occur, they were more likely to be exploratory or trade missions than an "invasion."

In any case, it's more proof that Native cultures were far more sophisticated than we give them credit for. Which makes portrayals such as those in Apocalypto all the more wrong and stereotypical.

Anyway, "The Art of Smoking Mirror" looks fascinating. Since it's here in LA, I'll see it and report on it eventually. I hope to talk with the artist and get an exhibit catalog of it, or perhaps a copy of the graphic novel in progress.

Rob said...

Fans love Indian mascots and Mel Gibson makes Apocalypto movies because they don't know about Cahokia or the Iroquois League or the Maritime Archaic culture. What's so hard to understand about that?

Everything I write about on this site is connected or I wouldn't be writing about it. See Culture and Comics Need Multicultural Perspective 2000 and Why Write About Native Americans? for some of my statements about how things are connected.

I'll try to catch a repeat of the Nova episode on my TiVo. If I can't, I may take you up on your tape offer.