According to the Smithsonian Futures:
Los Angeles-based artist Beatriz Cortez creates a space-time capsule inspired by both ancient Mayan “chultunes,” stone containers carved to preserve precious natural and spiritual materials, and the 20th-century history of space travel. For Chultun El Semillero, Cortez will create her chultunes out of welded steel, fill them with living plants, seeds, and other tools, and carve them with a mathematical formula offering directions for the survival of life on Earth.
Based on archival research at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, collaboration with Indigenous groups in her native Central America, and NASA’s experiments in growing plants in space, Cortez imagines her work as a speculative space-time capsule to carry ancestral Indigenous knowledge into the future. Chultun El Semillero was also made at a time of debate about COVID-19 vaccine distribution and will invite visitors to consider who has access to future resources and how they might be distributed.
Chultun El Semillero detail view at Smithsonian Arts + Industries Building, Beatriz Cortez, Courtesy FotoBriceno.