Friday, October 1, 2010

"Listen to the Earth Cone" Maya Lin

This is one of the most recent pieces by the famous artist Maya Lin (also designer of the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial). This piece was on exhibit late August of this year in the Guangdong Museum in the Tianhe District of Guangzhou, China.

Courtesy of:

Although this piece is designated as an installation, the association of it with nature and the repetitiveness of the design could give it somewhat of an association with earth art. The piece is a cone in design and made of bronze and wood, 19X10X8 feet. In the center of the cone, is a television screen displaying animals whose populations are declining due to habitat loss.

The materials used to create this piece are naturally found. What one should notice is the arrangement of the boards. Although the boards are not spiraling, they are converging downhill toward a point, as would a spiral do. Spirals, as we discussed are an important symbol that has existed for a long time. Therefore, a question I would like to ask is. . . is there another significant meaning to this?

Concerning "liminal spaces in the open environment-those places where the earth and the existence of man merge-where the boundaries between the two begin to dissolve" . . . I feel as if this piece would have a greater impact if it were not an installation confined to a museum. If it existed outside as a piece of "earth art" then the message would illicit a more emotional response.

For those who are not familiar with the area, it is one of growing infrastructure. From the first time I visited the area until 10 years after, things have changed very much. Much of the mountain landscape that once existed is lost. It is steadily being replaced by condos and pavement. Highways have been built very close to residential areas, the natural habitat has been decimated, and there is pollution.

I came upon this piece when I was searching for earth art, more specifically in the area of Guangzhou. This is an area that I am vaguely familiar with and have visited. However, I would like to become more familiar with the art that this area has to offer. Hopefully, I will be able to actually see what I discover sometime soon.


  1. Maybe the natural tunnel and the diverging lines suggest a fading away and distancing of these animals ... nice entry ...

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  3. Wow! I did not notice the element of time in this piece.