New Wave Aztec

New Wave Aztec

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After exploring The Aztec Empire and an exhibition of original works by artist Keith Haring at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, students from throughout New York City created their own digital animations in Flash MX inspired by the works on view at the museum.


To inspire students to create an animated symbols for the web using the computer animation software program Flash MX in order to express a duality that has meaning in their own lives.


The Guggenheim Museum


Drawing materials
Flash MX animation software (+ computers)


Weekly gallery visits, sketches, and discussions around The Aztec Empire and Keith Haring New Wave Aztec.

Introduction to Flash MX
First assignment: ask students to draw a symbol that represents where they are from.
Use this symbol as a point of departure for Flash exploration.

Introduction into Keith Haring's work and interest in ancient cultures and civilizations, and the meaning of signs and symbols.

Possible concepts that are explore in his work as symbols: strength, confrontation, spirituality, god force, wealth. power.

Universality of symbols, discussions about the concept of duality.

Serpent as a Motif
How does this symbol function in the Aztec society? How does Keith Haring use snakes or serpents in his work? Can you think of other ways that the serpent is used in our culture?

The serpent is a symbol that is at once threatening or villanous or can be used as a symbol for healing, as in the "staff and serpent" symbol for the medical profession. Ask students to draw or sktech a serpent based on Keith Haring's drawings, then begin a frame-by-frame animation in Flash MX.

Introduce more complex concepts in Flash: shape tweens, motion tweens, and actionscript

WEEKS 4, 5, 6, & 7
Flash instruction and creation of animated symbols to express the concept of duality.

Creation of artist statements, website design and public presentation.


How can you create a symbol that represents an abstract concept?

Could these symbols be understood by someone who doesn't speak English?

How can these symbols be more easily understood? How can they be more complex?

Can you try to draw a symbol that might communicate the same information but in a different way?

How can we communicate something as a symbol without being narrative?

How can an image express a duality?

In what ways can your symbol incorporate interactivity?