A memorial of the lost species on our planet.
Maya Lin’s Newest Work Is a ‘Last Memorial’ to the Vanishing Natural World
“I am going to try to wake you up to things that are missing that you are not even aware are disappearing.”
From the website’s explanation:
A memorial or monument is known as a single stationary object.
Imagine a memorial that would exist not as a fixed static monument, but as a work that would allow us to rethink the idea of a memorial. Imagine a work that could exist in several mediums and in multiple places simultaneously.
The elegantly designed interactive site, which was launched last year and is constantly being updated, allows visitors to add their own accounts of disappearances they have observed. By clicking on hundreds of dots that Lin calls “wormholes,” you can find chronicles of loss in the natural world. You can read about the vanished prairie grasses beloved by Willa Cather, or see a picture of the orchid Platanthera leucophaea, which once proliferated across what is now Indiana, but hasn’t been seen for 50 years. You can see a video of the imperiled Javan rhinoceros, or learn about the sardines that once were sold in the bazaars of the southern Arabian coast.
The ongoing environmental memorial that Lin is creating with her website and her sculptures is meant to inspire a different kind of reaction than the war memorial that made her name more than 30 years ago. These are monuments to losses that we may not even realize we have sustained.
Maya Lin’s Memorial to Vanishing Nature
The designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is now focused on the mass extinction of species, a threat she is highlighting on an interactive Web site. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Maya Lin talks about her “What is Missing” project, which she calls her “last memorial.”
In 1981, a Yale undergraduate named Maya Lin was catapulted to global prominence when her design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., was chosen over 1,441 other entries. Her striking creation — a black stone gash in the earth inscribed with the names of more than 58,000 American soldiers killed in the Vietnam War — remains one of the world’s most moving war monuments.
Now, three decades later, Lin has turned her attention to what she calls her “last memorial” — a global multimedia project aimed at drawing attention to the rapid loss of biodiversity and natural abundance. Centered around an interactive Web site that features more than 75 videos, scores of audio recordings of birds and animals, and photos and text that are an elegy for lost and threatened species, Lin’s “What is Missing?” project has the same arresting, unsettling qualities that are a hallmark of her Vietnam memorial.
CHECK OUT WHAT IS MISSING HERE.