Sungloss Marble Restoration Company Account Rep John Leonard was privileged to recently attend a Chicago lecture by Maya Lin, who spoke much about her work fusing art, architecture, and memorial monuments, and her latest environmental conservancy project What Is Missing (whatismissing.net).
Her lecture included many slides of her work, highlighting her site-specific works of natural wave fields, and physical representations of some of the world’s most important rivers and waterways. One example being a three-dimensional 90-foot long solid silver mass in the form of the Colorado River from end to end, that now hangs in Las Vegas. Lin described the piece as an attempt to make the viewer realize rivers are continuous systems end-to-end, and should be treated as such.
She touched on her most famous memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC. My overall impression of the memorial, made of black granite cut into a hill, is that of a scar on the earth, and in our nation’s heart. Ms. Lin surprisingly described it as a “polished geode” coming out of the earth to offer beauty and wonder to the landscape, much as her own discovery of geodes offered in her childhood. She reminisced of asking the granite fabricator to make the slabs as thin as possible, to give the monument a lighter feel.
At the end, Maya Lin described at some length her efforts to restore wetlands and river sites along the Columbia River in Oregon and Washington State. As well, she showed a preview of her latest (and last) memorial project What Is Missing, which is a web-based collection of people’s stories from all around the earth of environmental changes observed across generations. She posited that ecological disasters happen over and over due to human’s inability to learn across lands and generations. We are too spread out land-wise, socially, politically, and generationally, to connect the dots of measurable changes in the environment that have been occurring for hundreds of years: “look at the salmon in Europe, the salmon in the Atlantic, and now the salmon in the Pacific Northwest. It happens over and over again. We just don’t learn.” Her goal with the website is to collect enough narrative from around the world to show connections with the earth across generations.
At Sungloss Marble Restoration Company we’re also pushing to make our customers aware of the connection our marble, granite, limestone, terrazzo, slate, and other natural stone restoration has with the environment. Not only does restoration (polishing, cleaning, honing, sealing) conserve quarrying energy, but water-based sealers and virtually chemical-free processes help our immediate environment and waterways. We salute Maya Lin and look forward to her final memorial growing a useful ecological narrative that we can all learn from.