A statistic that she mentioned a few times during her presentation that similarly drove home the idea that there is (or has been) so much on earth that we cannot see is that the island of Hawaii is actually 500 ft. taller than Mount Everest. Like the huge volume of water that has vanished from the earth, the massiveness of the mountain that forms the island of Hawaii is also unseen. By pure coincidence, I also had the opportunity to see one of Lin’s created landscapes in person this past week. While I was down in Athens, OH, to run a half-marathon and visit my little brother who goes to the university there, I got the chance to explore her piece “Input.” The work is composed of a series of rectangular indentations and projections that are supposed to represent IBM punch cards. Her brother, Tan, composed a poem for the piece. The words of the poem are found on the concrete edges of the rectangular boxes. While I did not love the piece, I found a lot of the text intriguing. I especially enjoyed the phrases that were related to mapping, though I haven’t quite figured out the meaning of the piece as a whole. She mentioned several times that the work is in a way her own personal tribute to Athens. I was surprised to learn that Lin is a native of Athens and that her parents were both professors at OU. In the end I think the piece's purpose is to memorialize Lin's childhood and adolescence in the town of Athens.
"Input" in Athens, OH, on the grounds of Ohio University
"I wanted to draw a map of memories"
"like the photograph of a landscape"
"carved out to resemble rectangular bits of binary code"
When I visit Las Vegas for my first, and probably only, time this May with my sisters, I hope that I’ll get to stop into MGM’s Mirage and see Maya Lin’s rendition of the Colorado River in silver. Listening to Lin speak about her fascination with the natural world definitely made me appreciate her work more and think more about my own obsession with the way people interact with their environments.