Maya Lin Unveils "Unchopping a Tree" in Copenhagen

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Artist and architect Maya Lin is perhaps best known for her memorials--a series that includes the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. and the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. Her latest memorial, a multi-sited, multi-medium piece called "What is Missing," is about an issue close to Lin's heart: conservation. And today in Copenhagen, Lin is unveiling "Unchopping a Tree", one of the most moving pieces thus far from the larger "What is Missing" memorial.

The video, which is inspired by a W.S. Merwin poem of the same name, focuses on how we would feel if deforestation came to the city parks that we love the most. Lin decided to debut the video at the Support REDD+ Gala in Copenhagen to highlight the importance of enacting REDD, a UN program that will pay developing countries to cut down on deforestation. "I want to get out the message that by preventing deforestation, we can reduce emissions and save species," Lin said.

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The "Unchopping a Tree" video is far from the last installation in the "What is Missing" memorial. Next up for the project is a five-minute video on MTV's billboard in Times Square. The video, scheduled to debut on Earth Day 2010, will show viewers how they can prevent deforestation. On Earth Day 2011, the as yet to be officially launched "What is Missing" site will ask readers to contribute a memory or story of something that is missing from the planet. "It will be a collective online memorial with links to permanent installations around the world, "Lin said.

"What is Missing" will be Lin's last memorial, but she says that it will last for the rest of her life. "I've known for quite some time that my last memorial would be something near and dear to me," she explained. But Lin points that just because it's a memorial doesn't mean it's only about mourning extinct species. "It's about scale, abundance, the sound of the common songbird, oxygen, the ocean, the visibility of the stars at night. It reveals things that are disappearing that you might not realize are disappearing."

[What is Missing]

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11 Comments

  • Michael Brown

    Pan Orsiris writes: "...sins against the earth."

    Since when did the "earth" take the place of God? Oh, I forgot. The earth IS your (and so many others') god.

    Umph!

  • Michael Brown

    Pan Orsiris write: "...sins against the earth."

    Since when did the "earth" take the place of God? Oh, I forgot. The earth IS your (and so many others') god.

    Umph!

  • Pan Osiris

    Wanna stop deforestation? Stop eating meat. Stop over-consuming soy and sorghum and corn, all of which take too much water and too much arable land. Next car? Make it plug-in electric and get an inexpensive wind turbine while forcing your electric utility to buy from renewable power plants by ticking the box on your bill or their website that chooses renewable electricity. Stop driving to places you are able to walk or bike. It's just not that difficult...but be sure to stop eating those dumb-ass burgers and bacon as they are your largest sins against the earth.

  • Michael Brown

    ...And all us lemmings are to believe that none of these 90 acres per minute (if that number is even anywhere near accurate) are being replenished by the planting of saplings in their place.

    Come on, wood is the most renewable resource on the planet. Sheryl Crow couldn't make it stick with the "just one square" ploy, and neither can you. What are we supposed to be conserving next...Air?

  • Michael Brown

    ...And all us lemmings are to believe that none of these 90 acres per minute (if that number is even anywhere near accurate) are being replenished by the planting of saplings in their place.

    Come on, wood is the most renewable resource on the planet. Sheryl Crow couldn't make it stick with the "just one square" ploy, and neither can you. What are we supposed to be conserving next...Air?

  • Michael Brown

    ...And all us lemmings are to believe that none of these 90 acres per minute (if that number is even anywhere near accurate) are being replenished by the planting of saplings in their place.

    Come on, wood is the most renewable resource on the planet. Sheryl Crow couldn't make it stick with the "just one square" ploy, and neither can you. What are we supposed to be conserving next...Air?

  • Travis Price

    Oh please Maya, go make some real art in your fossil fuel dwelling, this is as feel goody disappointing and shallow as it gets.

  • Michael Brown

    ...And all us lemmings are to believe that none of these 90 acres per minute (if that number is even anywhere near accurate) are being replenished by the planting of saplings in their place.

    Come on, wood is the most renewable resource on the planet. Sheryl Crow couldn't make it stick with the "just one square" ploy, and neither can you. What are we supposed to be conserving next...Air?

  • Michael Brown

    ...And all us lemmings are to believe that none of these 90 acres per minute (if that number is even anywhere near accurate) are being replenished by the planting of saplings in their place.

    Come on, wood is the most renewable resource on the planet. Sheryl Crow couldn't make it stick with the "just one square" ploy, and neither can you. What are we supposed to be conserving next...Air?

  • Richard Geller

    I've had a lifelong love affair with language and with song, and I think it's quite a challenge to communicate the idea of 90 acres every minute of forested habitat being lost forever, so that people will be touched by the reality of it in a simple, heartfelt way. I think this piece may serve that purpose quite wonderfully. We shall see. Certainly we can hope so, as we're all in this together.
    --
    Richard Geller
    http://www.aSiteAboutSomething...