Maze exhibition in D.C.

Over at Smithsonian, a short piece about the National Building Museum's giant maze installation (construction video above) with a brief history of labyrinths.

The first recorded labyrinth comes from Egypt in the 5th century B.C.; the Greek historian, Herodotus, wrote that "all the works and buildings of the Greeks put together would certainly be inferior to this labyrinth as regards labor and expense." One of the most famous labyrinths of antiquity is the Cretan Labyrinth, which housed the terrifying Minotaur at its center. The Roman Empire often employed labyrinthine motifs on their streets or above their doors, almost always accompanied by images of a Minotaur at the center—the labyrinths were thought to represent the protection of fortification.

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  1. miasm says:

    From someone currently stuck in 'the maze', I'd sure like to get out now.

  2. National Building Museum is one of my most favoritest places in DC. I don't get to go there enough, dangit.

  3. I walked over there over several different days watching them build this maze. It was pretty cool watching it come together, but they seemed to have a really inefficient way of doing it towards the end that the time lapse video doesn't really show. They finished framing all the walls and then put on the plywood skin. But the cutting station was outside the maze, so they would cut a piece of plywood and then have to walk halfway through the winding maze in order to get the piece to the proper spot to be screwed on. They couldn't even step through the stud walls before they were framed, because the walls in the middle were too low. It took 4 guys to hang a single piece of plywood. One would cut it and walk about 20 feet and pass it over a wall to a second guy who would walk a way and pass it to a third, who would pass it to the guy on the ladder to screw it to the studs.

    A project like this, once you learn the most practical way of doing it, it's over and you're never going to make one again.

  4. gmoke says:

    The unicursal labyrinth is Neolithic in origin and is sometimes said to be a symbol for water or a solar symbol. It may also have been the figure used for the mounted or marching activity called "The Game of Troy." The unicursal labyrinth occurs both in Europe and the Americas at an early date. The Egyptian labyrinth may have been involved in energy generation, if you believe some of the printed speculations. People still walk the unicursal labyrinth for spiritual purposes and there are many churches which incorporate a labyrinth in the decoration of their floors. There may be some research that shows walking a labyrinth harmonizes the different sides of the brain but that could just be an effect of any walking meditation.

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