Mexican psychedelics meets lasers: Meet Burning Man favorite Mayan Warrior

Mayan Warrior’s hosts are allowed to say that Paolo Montiel, a designer best known for setting the Chichén Itzá pyramids aglow, is the man behind much of the art car’s club-style lighting. Mark Nath, who has produced laser shows for top hip-hop, pop and EDM acts (Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Tiesto), will do the same for the Warrior.

Colorful, geometric bracelets constructed by Huichol people are coming along for the ride, too. “Each bracelet is handmade and it takes one day to make,” Vargas says. “They’re very beautiful.”

Organizers of the sound system said in a statement that their effort is ultimately about “sacred and ancient sources of geometry.”

William A. Nericcio, a San Diego State University English scholar who has written about Mexican influences in American pop culture, seems to agree.

“One part Moebius, one part Carlos Castaneda, one part low-rider, one part Vegas, one part Studio 54, this automobilic melange of sights, sounds, and hubcaps (and DJs!) is the ultimate example of Latin American syncretism — the tribal communal spirit of la gente, inflecting the experience of raves and reinvesting it with something unique,” he said via email. “While the ghost of Henry Ford would not approve, the shades of García Márquez and Frida Kahlo will be getting down to the light-driven, sound-source experience that is the Mayan Warrior.”

Indeed the platform connects the ancient psychedelic mysticism of Mexico, a birthplace for rituals involving magic mushrooms and peyote, with the cyber-hippy technology of today’s Burning Man.

“This is not necessarily to expose people to Mexico’s psychedelic history,” Vargas says, “but for sure it’s inspired by it.”