Maya Lin-Making the Memorial-Schuyler DeMarinis-Reading #10

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial created by Maya Lin 1982 originally as a class project turned out to be a pivotal point in designing of memorials. Lin describes making the proposal simply for herself and nobody else. She never even considered submitting it to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. Like the memorial apparently projects, it is meant to be a slash or cut into the earth. Lin describes it as a surface or the moment where light and dark meet. The blackness of the granite is not meant to be a color but a mirrored surface where you can experience a fallen soldiers name through yourself.

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Vietnam Veterans Memorial

   This idea of cutting away at the earth, memorializing the loss and pain of those who served for our country was new. Previously memorials were erected high and proudly, to commemorate those who gave their lives. By cutting into the earth and creating a void Lin is creating a space for visitors to mourn or experience emotion. Lin described this as “the memorial worked more on an emotional level than a formal level.” I think that this is an essential aspect for memorials in order for them to be successful to their visitors.

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National September 11 Memorial and Museum

   The National September 11 Memorial and Museum is another example of creating a void in the earth. This void happens to be in the center of one of the busiest cities on earth. The architects in this piece created a space where you can truly feel loss as the water flows deep into black whole in the city center. The names also bring a personal touch. There is always some criticism or critique on using names in memorials for any such reason that a person can make up. I find it to be successful.

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Memorial Rotunda at Yale

   Lin included names in her work initially because of the emotional response she got when visiting Yale’s Memorial Rotunda for the alumni killed in war. She describes it at the “power of the name.” I think the more we listen to these artist talk about their work the more we can understand and appreciate it for what it is, rather than find something that is wrong with it.

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Vietnam Veterans Memorial

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