Lin would like her new memorial to have global reach. She wants to use the Internet, interactive media and a book to tell people specific steps they can take to spare the environment, like avoiding plastic bags, insisting on shade-grown coffee or joining a program to "adopt" an endangered species and help protect it. She wants to unveil donated corporate billboards in locations such as Times Square, with 20-minute videos with images of endangered species and places.
Does this mean she is crossing the line from artist to advocate?
Lin paused for a thoughtful moment. As a child, the burning of toxic contaminants on Lake Erie did spur her to environmental activism. She petitioned the Kroger Co., owner of Ralphs and Food4Less, to ban animal traps and advocated for Greenpeace.
"I've always said I present history. I don't dictate what people think," she began carefully. "I don't try to preach. This one, like the others, makes you aware of it: 'Did you know the sound of the songbirds, as we knew it when we were little, are gone?' But yeah," she added with a shrug, "Definitely, I will be giving groups and people things they can do in their everyday lives."
While I believe that most of Maya Lin's work is activist media in the way challenges the public's normal engagement with memorials; her reshaping of the memorial landscape into spaces of activist art will be very overt in this memorial. I'm anxious to see it come fruition and what sort of new media applications she'll be using.
Read more at the LA Times.
PS. This really just makes me justified in what I'm studying - Hopefully one day I'll be able to incorporate Lin's final memorial into an extended essay on how the public used networked on-line spaces to memorialize and as activist media and how the memorial institutions have incorporated this behavior. Exciting!