Home LifestyleArt and Culture “La Peni” an immersive space inaugurated in Mérida’s Parque de La Paz

“La Peni” an immersive space inaugurated in Mérida’s Parque de La Paz

by Yucatan Times
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The project rescues and transforms 19 thousand square meters of public space in the heart of Mérida.

On Wednesday, December 13th, the mayor of Mérida, Alejandro Ruz Castro, inaugurated La Peni, in the Parque de la Paz, a digital intervention project that rescues and transforms 19 thousand square meters of public, historical, and iconic space in the municipality to design an immersive cultural experience, interactive and free, unique in Latin America.

“Today, Mérida has become the great capital of Southeast Mexico, transforming into a smart city that places people at the center of development, incorporates information and communication technologies in urban management and includes collaborative planning and participation processes. citizen. Mérida is betting on an innovative, competitive, attractive, and resilient future, improving the lives of its inhabitants,” the mayor stressed.

Photo: Mérida City Council

During his speech, the director of Culture of Mérida, Irving Berlin Villafaña, highlighted that La Peni is the first immersive park with digital interaction technology in Mexico and Latin America, which due to its innovation will attract artists from around the world.

La Peni Project

It is worth mentioning that this project allowed the recovery of a public space surrounded by schools, hospitals, and government offices for the enjoyment of families, young people, and tourists who are in a constant search for new places and experiences that take them out of the routine. 

Furthermore, the project that was in development for more than five years takes place in the premises of the former Juárez Penitentiary, better known as La Peni, and the iconic Parque de la Paz, the gateway to the Historic Center of the city, areas that have been completely remodeled.

In La Peni, people become creators of a unique and unrepeatable show that is built daily with their interventions. There are monumental projections, interactive and immersive audio, motion sensors, touch and interactive screens, and visual effects with lasers, designed to last in the memory of visitors. 

From the moment they enter the Parque de la Luz, people are greeted by a giant 65 x 15-meter hammock, created by the artist Rodrigo Ballester, as a metaphor for the strength and harmony of the Yucatecan social fabric. It was curated by Arantxa Montes Valladares, founder and creative director of the Manoumana Design Studio.

During the day, visitors will be able to appreciate the sounds inspired by the region and as night comes, the smart lamps will illuminate and give life to the trees, accompanied by audio created by Artificial Intelligence that transmits sounds of the region’s fauna to contribute to the atmosphere.

Interactive moments 

La Peni has different interactive moments: Seeds, Comets, Constellations, Digital Portals, Stellar Projection, and Interactive Fountains. 

In them, visitors can choose regional seeds and “sow” them digitally on the façade of the former penitentiary or “energize comets” that recall the Chicxulub, a meteorite that fell in Yucatan 66 million years ago.

Photo: Mérida City Council

You can also create different constellations with the movement generated from the flash of your cell phones, as well as “pass” a digital curtain with your arms and play with a system of water jets that follows your movements, with a system unique in the world.

The main attraction is its large video mapping projection designed specifically for the façade of La Peni, designed to cover its 140 meters with a unique show that takes up essences of the past of Yucatecan culture and projects a window to the future.

Through the deployment of technology, the convergence of digital and interactive moments, as well as its spectacular dimensions, the project combines art and technology as tools of cultural dissemination, elements present in other artistic and entertainment experiences such as Cité Mémoire in Montreal, Avatar Experience in Singapore and Casa Batlló, in Barcelona.


The La Peni project was created by Jorge Contreras, a transdisciplinary creative producer, who has worked in the production of film, theater, television, circus, concerts, and gastronomic spaces. He studied acting at Casa del Teatro and specialized in Lecoq, Decreoux, and Odin Theater techniques. 

Recently, Contreras has ventured as a creator of what he calls Digital Interactive Immersive Ecosystems , making use of space and technology as means to create digital worlds and spread stories.

Photo: Mérida City Council

“We use cutting-edge technology to recover this urban space and turn it into a new unique cultural attraction for the city. In many parts of the world, art installations have begun to leave museums and confined spaces to use public spaces in the city, transform them, and use them to tell stories. The difference with La Peni is that it is a permanent project, always alive, dynamic, and that, due to the interaction of people, can never be the same,” said the creator of the project.

TYT Newsroom

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