Maya Lin, the artist most famous for creating the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, a piece of public work that cut deep in the American psyche, unveiled another memorial last week in San Francisco. What is missing? is a homage to extinct species.
In her artists’ statement she says:
What is missing? is a wake up call and a call to action, showing what is being done throughout the field of conservation and also what individuals can do in their everyday lives to make a difference in habitat and species protection.
What is missing? will make the critical link between global warming concerns and habitat protection: if 20% of global warming emissions are caused by deforestation then What is missing? will integrally connect these issues, asking the question:
Can we save two birds with one tree?
I’m sorry. It may be that last coy bon mot that pushed me over the line but… if any piece of work epitomises something Michaela Crimmin was talking about recently when she wrote,“Art is not going to combat climate change by didacticism of preaching”, it’s Lin’s giant speaking tube.
Perhaps the piece doesn’t have the right impact when viewed via YouTube, but to my eyes, Lin’s work does the opposite of creating connections between environment and global warming, as she claims. Instead, Lin’s megaphone appears to reduce the natural world to something exotic and far-away at the pointy end of a tube.
I’m right, aren’t I?
EDIT. I’ve just noticed in a review of the work in the SF Chronicle that children can enter the tube – if they take their shoes off. That makes it even worse, somehow.
Go to RSA Arts & Ecology