“We start with what we are missing and it begins with accounting of what we are losing before our very eyes…” – Maya Lin
Maya Lin struck me again – just as I was getting tired of explaining to my guests visiting Washington, D.C. about how Lin’s design for the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial broke artistic and sociological grounds.
In 2003, with a mission to create awareness about mass extinction of species, artist Maya Lin founded What is Missing? Foundation – her fifth and last memorial project. The foundation collaborates with scientists, researchers and top conservation organizations to create science-based artwork that communicate the cause and consequences of habitat degradation and loss across the world. Its projects also educate viewers on what they can do to reduce and reverse species extinction.
The web offers us a media that is between moving image, book or map and most importantly, it will allow us to layer the information so that we can sift through time and place. Using sound and interactive motion graphics, the website builds a connective map highlighting memory, action and hope.
Whatismissing.net is a dot-based map of the world in which each dot represents a species, place or natural phenomenon that has disappeared or is degrading at a significant rate.
Unchopping a Tree made its debut at the COP 15 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen, Denmark to draw attention to deforestation. What is Missing? partnered with the Clinton Global Initiative to support forest-based carbon financing mechanisms in the much debated UN REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) program.
The Empty Room (debuted Sept. 25, 2009)
As the viewer walks into a pitch dark empty room, he/she is met by flickering lights coming from a clear screen that projects an image and sound of a species. I haven’t personally seen The Empty Room, but the concept I assume is that when viewers are able to see, hear and touch the projected species and have a personal connection with it. But when they leave the room, all they have is a memory- an intangible absence; similar to extinction. Hope that made sense :)
The Listening Cone (2009, San Francisco)
The Listening Cone takes the form of a bronze funnel – reclining like an antique gramaphone horn- that is lined with reclaimed redwood. At the end of the funnel/tunnel is a screen that plays different 20-minute videos in no particular order. The reason these videos run on a 20-minute cycle is based on the scientific knowledge that some form of species is threatened with extinct on average of every 20 minutes.
Check out more installations and projects in the What is Missing? website.