Category Archives: Pilgrimage

Ana Mendieta, Silueta Series (1973-78)

“The “Siluetas” comprise more than 200 earth-body works that saw the artist burn, carve, and mold her silhouette into the landscapes of Iowa and Mexico. The sculptures made tangible Mendieta’s belief of the earth as goddess, rooted in Afro-Cuban Santería and the indigenous Taíno practices of her homeland. Exiled from Cuba at a young age, Mendieta said that she was “overwhelmed by the feeling of having been cast from the womb (nature).” Seeking a way to, in her words, “return to the maternal source,” she used her body to commune with sand, ice, and mud, among other natural media, as a way to “become one with the earth.”

Yet these works resist easy categorization in form or theme. The “Siluetas” are not self-portraits or performance pieces, except perhaps to the few who witnessed them. Each piece was subsumed by the earth, meaning photographs are the only remaining traces. Similarly, the thematic complexity of Mendieta’s life and these sculptures resist collapsing into neat categories of nation, diaspora, race, or gender. By using the body as both an image and medium, these aspects of identity are complicated. Mendieta’s earthworks occupy a liminal space between presence and absence, balancing the inevitable politicization of the self while searching for meaning in older, sacred traditions. …

The “Siluetas” were an ongoing, ritualistic relationship between Mendieta and the land. I read each work as a spell, a fragment of an ongoing incantation that was not “the final stage of a ritual but a way and a means of asserting my emotional ties with nature,” as Mendieta once said. She wanted to send “an image made out of smoke into the atmosphere,” so that each work was designed to disappear, to be reclaimed by the force she revered in an effort to come closer to it.” [credit]

“Spanning performance, sculpture, film, and drawing, Ana Mendieta‘s work revolves around the body, nature, and the spiritual connections between them. A Cuban exile, Mendieta came to the United States in 1961, leaving much of her family behind—a traumatic cultural separation that had a huge impact on her art. Her earliest performances, made while studying at the University of Iowa, involved manipulations to her body, often in violent contexts, such as restaged rape or murder scenes. In 1973 she began to visit pre-Columbian sites in Mexico to learn more about native Central American and Caribbean religions. During this time the natural landscape took on increasing importance in her work, invoking a spirit of renewal inspired by nature and the archetype of the feminine.

By fusing her interests in Afro-Cuban ritual and the pantheistic Santeria religion with contemporary practices such as earthworks, body art, and performance art, she maintained ties with her Cuban heritage. Her Silueta (Silhouette) series (begun in 1973) used a typology of abstracted feminine forms, through which she hoped to access an “omnipresent female force.”¹ Working in Iowa and Mexico, she carved and shaped her figure into the earth, with arms overhead to represent the merger of earth and sky; floating in water to symbolize the minimal space between land and sea; or with arms raised and legs together to signify a wandering soul. These bodily traces were fashioned from a variety of materials, including flowers, tree branches, moss, gunpowder, and fire, occasionally combined with animals’ hearts or handprints that she branded directly into the ground.By 1978 the Siluetas gave way to ancient goddess forms carved into rock, shaped from sand, or incised in clay beds. Mendieta created one group of these works, the Esculturas Rupestres or Rupestrian Sculptures, when she returned to Cuba in 1981. Working in naturally formed limestone grottos in a national park outside Havana where indigenous peoples once lived, she carved and painted abstract figures she named after goddesses from the Taíno and Ciboney cultures. Mendieta meant for these sculptures to be discovered by future visitors to the park, but with erosion and the area’s changing uses, many were ultimately destroyed. While several of these works have been rediscovered, for most viewers the Rupestrian Sculptures, like the Siluetas before them, live on through Mendieta’s films and photographs, haunting documents of the artist’s attempts to seek out, in her words, that “one universal energy which runs through everything: from insect to man, from man to spectre, from spectre to plant, from plant to galaxy.”²

Nat Trotman

1. Ana Mendieta, quoted in Petra Barreras del Rio and John Perrault, Ana Mendieta: A Retrospective, exh. cat. (New York: New Museum of Contemporary Art, 1988), p. 10.

2. Ana Mendieta, “A Selection of Statements and Notes,” Sulfur (Ypsilanti, Mich.) no. 22 (1988), p. 70.” [credit]

Tendai Buddist monks, Kaihogyo (1310-)

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“It is March. It is midnight. Snow still covers the trails of Mount Hiei, which lies just northeast of the ancient city of Kyoto, in central Japan. Kakudo Suzuki, an aspiring Japanese Buddhist spiritual athlete or gyoja, attends an hour-long service in the Buddha Hall. He sips a bowl of miso soup and chews on a couple of rice balls. Then he dresses. His outfit is pure white—the color of death—the same thins he would be dressed in at his own funeral. It is cotton and consists of a short kimono undershirt, pants, hand and leg covers, a long outer robe and a priest’s outer vestment.

He wraps a white “cord of death,” around his waist with a sheathed knife tucked inside. Tendai Buddhist tradition dictates that if Kakudo does not complete his prescribed marathon runs and walks, and all the accompanying tasks, he must take his own life by either hanging or disemboweling himself. He also carries a small bag that holds his secret holy book, which will guide him on his journey and help him remember the 250 prayer stops to make along his 18-mile trip around Mount Hiei. Some of those stops will be to honor monks of the past who did not make it and died by suicide. Kakudo also carries candles, matches, a small bag of food offerings to the deities, and a rosary. Mount Hiei has five main peaks, the highest being O-bie-dake at 2769 feet. It is a lush landscape of rain, high humidity and winter snows. The mountain is located in temperate western Japan, but the combination of relatively high altitude, trees that block out the sunlight and frigid air masses that move in from Siberia turns Mount Hiei into the “frozen peak” during the cold months. The mountain is a wildlife preserve full of forest animals — fox, rabbit, deer, badger, bear, boar and the famous Hiei monkey.

Kakudo puts a pair of handmade straw sandals on his bare feet, and carries a straw raincoat and paper lantern. In stormy weather, the rain destroys the sandals in a couple of hours, extinguishes the lanterns, washes out the routes and soaks the spiritual trail runner to the bone.

Kakudo is one of the Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei, and this will be only the first of 100 successive nights that he will get up at midnight, attend the service and start his marathon run/walk (kaihogyo) around Mount Hiei, completing the route between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. He will then attend an hour-long service, followed by bathing and the midday meal. After lunch, Kakudo will rest, then attend to temple chores. The last meal is taken around 6 p.m., and Kakudo gets to sleep around 8 or 9. The only variation in the 100-day ordeal will be a special 33-mile run through Kyoto, robbing him of one night’s sleep altogether.

During the route, Kakudo will sit down only once—beneath a giant sacred cedar for two minutes—to pray for the protection of the imperial family. After a first run with a master, Kakudo will be on his own. He may suffer cuts, sprains, stone bruises and punctures to his feet and ankles. He may run a fever, experience back and hip pain, develop hemorrhoids and diarrhea, suffer from frostbite dehydration and hunger. But by about the 30th day, according to the predecessors’ accounts, his discomfort will lessen as his body adapts to the pain and strain. By the 70th day he is run/walking with a smooth gait, head and shoulders erect, back straight, nose and navel aligned. He will continually chant mantras to the god Fudo Myo-o. His spiritual goal is to become completely absorbed in the mountain and its surroundings, so that the pain and discomfort of the physical ritual will not be noticed, or at least be ignored. Kakudo hopes to achieve a state of Enlightenment—the pure spiritual joy of feeling one with the universe. As rugged as it appears, however, this test is merely a warmup in the ultimate spiritual quest of the Marathon Monks—the complete process entails seven more years and becomes progressively and unfathomably more difficult.

It is not clear exactly how these spiritual mountain marathons began, but records show that Chinese and Indian Buddhist texts of the eighth century stated that, “Mountain pilgrimages on sacred peaks is the best of practices.” From about 830 to 1130, pilgrimages took place to mounts Hira, Kimpu and Hiei. Kaihogyo, as the rituals are known today, evolved from 1310 to present.

Since 1885, 46 marathon monks have completed the 1,000-day journey—an ordeal that is an option for the gyoja who passes the 100-day test. Two monks completed two full terms; another died by suicide on his 2,500th day, trying to complete three terms. The majority of monks who complete these odysseys have been in their 30s. The oldest completed his 2,000th day when he was 61 years old. The number of monks who actually died or committed suicide along the path is not known, but the route on Mount Hiei is lined with many unmarked gyoja graves.

When he finishes the 100 days, Kakudo can petition Hiei Headquarters to be allowed to undertake the 1,000-day spiritual challenge (sennichi kaihogyo). If this petition is accepted, he must free himself from all family ties and observe a seven-year retreat on Mount Hiei. Kakudo will then commit himself to 900 more marathons over a seven-year period. The first 300 are 18- to 25-mile runs undertaken 100 days in a row, from the end of March to mid-October over three years. Starting in the fourth year, Kakudo will be allowed to wear socks with the sandals. During the fourth and fifth years, he will run 200 consecutive marathons each year and will be allowed to carry a walking stick. At the completion of the 700th marathon, Kakudo will face the greatest trial of all, called doiri—seven and a half days without food, water or sleep, sitting in an upright position and chanting mantras day and night. If he lives through this trial, which brings him to the brink of death and therefore to the ultimate appreciation of life, he will have attained the Buddhist level of Saintly Master of the Severe Practice (ogyoman jari).

In his book, The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei, John Stevens sums up the greatest contributions of these spiritual adventurers: “The most admirable thing about the Hiei gyoja is their warmth, open-heartedness and humanity … Facing death over and over, the marathon monks become alive to each moment, full of gratitude, joy and grace … [They] have much to teach us: always aim for the ultimate, never look back, be mindful of others at all times and keep the mind forever set on the Way.”

>What is Tendai Buddhism?

Tendai Buddhism, practiced by the Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei, is a Buddhist sect that was started in the 8th century by a much-heralded and respected monk named Saicho, which means “Highest Clarity.” Saicho was a great synthesizer who brought together the teachings of Korea, China and Japan to form his own interpretations of Buddhist philosophy and form a “great unity with insignificant differences.” Saicho had many followers, and after his death, the modest monastery on Mount Hiei grew into one of the largest religious complexes in the world, a state within a state. Tendai Buddhism has endured over the centuries and its followers still gather together on Mount Hiei to practice its principles and meditations

Dave Ganci, the Rogue Senior, trains Navy and Army Special Warfare troops on desert survival. He describes himself as “a middle-aged desert rat whose skin is hard and wrinkled from too much time running, climbing and drinking cheap beer under the sun.”

This article originally appeared in our March 2003 issue.

Kate Green, Watershed Line (2021)

a cement post

Credit: https://www.kate-green.co.uk/walks

“WATERSHED LINE

From May to September 2021

Kate is Artist-in-Residence in the Elan Valley.

The 1892 Water Act allowed Birmingham Corporation to purchase the watershed of rivers Elan and Claerwen. These 70 square miles would provide water to fuel the city’s industrial growth.

The WATERSHED LINE, the perimeter of the land claimed, was, and still is, marked by concrete posts.

https://www.elanvalley.org.uk/about/elan-links

Today, 81% of the Elan Estate is an Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Ironically, the economic value of its water has protected it from the use of pesticides and other chemicals, preserving habitats for now rare plants and animals. However, harnessing the natural cycle of these valleys was a feat of Victorian engineering that accelerated industrialization, contributing to the current global environmental crisis.

As a ‘post-industrial’ pilgrimage in a ‘wild’ landscape, my walk from POST TO POST is a conversation about the complexities of the human footprint.” [credit]

Heath Bunting and Kayle Brandon, BorderXing (2002)

“BorderXing, a 2002 commission for the Tate Gallery in London, in which Mr. Bunting, 37, and Ms. Brandon, 28, documented illegal treks they made across European borders.

“I’ve always wanted to be nomadic — to beg, borrow, find things,” Mr. Bunting said. He travels light, often with no change of clothes and only a few basics: a penknife, a diary, a passport.

The BorderXing Web site, available for individual use by request (at irational.org/cgi-bin/border/clients/ deny.pl) offers pictures, suggested routes and tips for evading the authorities. A vacation slide show of the couple’s journey is on view at the New Museum, as well as online, without registration, at duo.irational.org/borderxing–slide–show.

Despite the political provocation involved, the project retains the aura of a pilgrimage — to be close to the land, to throw off the weight of nationality and statehood, simply to put one foot in front of the other and go.

… BorderXing is concerned with the physical, visceral aspects of travel…” [credit] [full article as PDF]

Rozalinda Borcila, Center for Getting Ugly – Kara Holland’s Walk to the Beach (2006)

“In a city built around the logic of automobility, a small group documents several attempts to walk to Tampa’s last remaining public beach. We rely on instructions from passers-by who struggle to conform their mental map of the city to the possibilities of walking.” [credit]

From the original invite: ”

Kara Holland invites participants on a walk from the Westshore Palms neighborhood to the beach located directly west, less than 1 mile away. This public beach is one of the last few remaining in the city of Tampa. We will try to get to the beach on foot, navigating terrain that, not unlike much of the city, is hostile to walking. The walk will explore the ways in which otherwise “benign” structures (a corporate park, a mall, the highway and so forth) are aggressive to bodies not trapped in cars and effectively colonize public space. Participants will pause to mark especially hostile boundaries, using materials found on site. We will share a picnic upon arriving at the beach, or wherever we can no longer travel on foot. Recording devices for documenting the walk are welcome and encouraged (cell phone, cell phone camera, digital camera, video camera, audio recorder, etc). This walk is a collaboration with The Center For Getting Ugly as part of the “Walk, Talk, Eat, Talk Some More” project.

Date: April 15, 4:30 pm
Meeting place: Kara’s apartment, 4601 Gray St. Tampa FL, 33609
Duration: 2 hours (??)” [credit]

“Center for Getting Ugly – dedicated to the research, practice and sustained experimentation with conflict as essential political activity. the Center seeks to develop individual and collective capabilities for the production of radical politics. must embrace conflict as an essential, productive aspect of collaboration. must be perpetually dissatisfied with, and suspicious of, existing aesthetic or semantic strategies.

The Center for Getting Ugly is dedicated to the research, practice and sustained experimentation of social conflict, with the goal of encephalizing collective organs and social technologies for the production of radical politics. In other words, the Center operates on the premise that, given sufficient practice, we can develop collective revolutionary organs. The Center is not a group, a project or a place, but an open infrastructure. Its various subdivisions target specific practices or arenas for the production of critical deviance, with collective activity as its main underlying principle.

The Center for Getting Ugly launches invitations, provocations. it facilitates collaboration between multiple practitioners. it imagines, invents and sometimes even deploys probing devices. currently, its subdivisions are:

Can’t we all just get along? Counter-Cartographies of Playing Nice – invited or self-appointed Special Fellows conduct research on dominant modes of subjectivation in various concrete situations. though not all maps take the form of two dimensional representations, the desire is to produce interpretive works which may be used to incite, illuminate or facilitate intervention.

Walking and not Walking – develops extended skill-sharing, experimental workshops specifically focused on walking practices – and, given the ways in which mobility is structured around consumption and other forms of subjectivation, on practices of not walking: standing, stopping, pausing, staying and occasionally lying down.

A Synchronized Swimming – Different collectives are invited to design an un-resolvable conflict equation based on their own, unique working methods. These equations are passed on to another collective, who develop interpretive extensions/models for the sustension of conflict. A Synchronized Swimming then dives into the Pool: an exhibition/symposium/forum for incorporating these models into action.”

SOURCES:

Mother Earth Water Walk (2003-2017)

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“Two Anishinawbe Grandmothers, and a group of Anishinawbe Women and Men have taken action regarding the water issue by walking the perimeter of the Great Lakes.

Along with a group of Anishinabe-que and supports, they walked around Lake Superior in Spring 2003, around Lake Michigan in 2004, Lake Huron in 2005, Lake Ontario in 2006 and Lake Erie in 2007.

The 1st Annual Women’s Water Walk took place April 2003. Several women from different clans came together to raise awareness that our clean and clear water is being polluted by chemicals, vehicle emissions, motor boats, sewage disposal, agricultural pollution, leaking landfill sites, and residential usage is taking a toll on our water quality. Water is precious and sacred…it is one of the basic elements needed for all life to exist.

The Annual Women’s Water Walk was chosen for Spring because for the natural re-growth of our natural habitat, as it is a in time for renewal, re-growth, and re-birth.

A team of 6 – 8 Aboriginal people volunteer to walk and help with the everyday necessities such as having multitasked drivers to accompany walkers, food preparation, refreshment breaks, camp set ups, cleaners, laundry etc.

Public Relations Personnel have been involved throughout by taking shifts, and also going ahead to communities to aid with the awareness of the walk. This includes the distribution of media releases, posters, pamphlets, advertisements, and meeting and greeting of the participating walkers.

The overall result after implementation is to gather other groups and/or organizations to participate in an all regional walk around the Great Lakes. The goal is achieved strength in numbers with other Aboriginal men/women in the Great Lake Regions. The anticipated outcome is to have all people aware of the importance of the water and gain support and the gathering of other supporters whom would share an interest in protecting our water through our walk. This event will be annually, with the intent of the Women’s Water Walk to gain awareness and support for annual walks throughout the region. This will entail support, recognition, and awareness of the importance of keeping Great Lake waters clean.

It is anticipated that eventually challenges with other organizations to come together each spring to adopt a common like to care and protect from further pollution.

Stakeholder participation presently resides within the Biidaajiwun Local. Biidaajiwun Local is a women’s group run exclusively by women to raise awareness of issues, pertaining the needs of Aboriginal women. Contribution factors involve the housing of public relation workers, volunteers, support and the participation of several women sharing in the protection of our waters.

It is the hope that other locals, individuals and organizations will come together annually to spread interest and awareness in their communities. This annual event is intended to gain support to raise awareness throughout the region.

The originality of this idea is uncommon as there are few who are ready and willing to take on such a challenge. This idea is original because of how society today is taught to rely on the technological equipment, and that the mere thought of a walk being more than 15 minutes is a task for many. We strive our own determination that this challenge is seldom being done elsewhere, particularly in our region. We are doing this walk on our own beliefs within our own aboriginal culture and values of the importance of our waters is very precious and sacred to our being, as it is one of the basic elements needed for all life to exist.

In doing so, we know that such an endeavors requires a certain amount of funds to help carry the walk over for a two month period, but this alone will not prevent us from carry out what our grandfathers have predicted. Our waters will be scarce and will be deficient in the essential means for our survival….our water.”

Lisa Myers, and from then on we lived on blueberries for about a week (2013)


Lisa Myers, ‘and from then on we lived on blueberries for about a week’, made for MAP Spring 2013, 6’44” (animation with assistance from animator Rafaela Kino). This work pays homage to an on-foot journey her grandfather undertook to flee Shingwauk Residential School in Ontario. Myers herself once did an 11-day walk tracing the route of her grandfather’s journey.

“When he was a boy, artist Lisa Myers’s Anishinaabe grandfather walked some 250 kilometres along Northern Ontario railroad tracks for one reason: to escape Shingwauk Residential School in Sault Ste. Marie.

Myers recorded her grandfather’s account of this journey during a conversation with him in the 1990s—and she listened it to it many times before she made the decision, in 2009, to walk the route he’d described alongside her cousin Shelley Essaunce and her nephew Gabriel.

Myers and the Essaunces took 11 days to walk the 250-kilometre journey.

“After this walk,” Myers writes in a 2016 Walter Phillips Gallery exhibition essay titled “Rails and Ties,” “I began thinking about how to locate myself within my grandfather’s story, and about how I wanted to convey its different iterations. One thing that struck me was that he survived by eating blueberries growing along the tracks. He said, ‘and from then on we lived on blueberries for about a week.’”

The latter quotation from her grandfather became the title for a video installation by Myers—one related to trauma, food, walking and survival—that was on view at Artcite in Windsor this spring as part of the exhibition “Walks of Survivance.”

“Instead of always repeating his story, [walking] was a way of finding myself in that story,” Myers told curator Maya Wilson-Sanchez a few years ago. And by walking, Myers also told Wilson-Sanchez, she was “able to bring the places in the story to life.”

“When I recall walking across the railway bridge over the Mississauga River north of Lake Huron,” Myers writes in “Rails and Ties,” “I think about my fear of the elevation, and how gusts of wind unsteadied my steps. Finding my footing meant looking down and seeing the river rushing 50 feet below the railway ties of that century-old steel bridge. The Mississagi River flows into Lake Huron, the railway crosses the river, and from my grandfather’s account of his journey this was the first place (after leaving school) where he heard his language and saw Anishinaabe people cooking and sharing food down by the river. They welcomed him, and fed him.”

During her walk in her grandfather’s footsteps, Myers also heard stories of other youth who had escaped the way he had. Ultimately, her works on this theme—which include both abstract and map-like prints made with blueberry pigments, as well as documentation of wooden spoons stained with blueberries she has shared with others, also speak to a complex intertwining of group and individual journeys, of landscapes that are real and imagined.

“The spoons represent sharing, sustenance and the gathering of people,” Myers writes. “When I line these spoons up side by side, the reddish-blue marks continue from one utensil to the next, recalling an imaginary topography or horizon line created by the trace of berry consumption.”

In this sense, walking and artmaking become different ways of tracing and “straining” an experience.

“Straining to survive, or even to be accepted, means the less digestible parts of stories need to be retained, traced, remembered and told,” Myers writes.

Of course, Myers is not alone in thinking about walking as a mode of Indigenous resistance and survival.

“There’s the water walk that is happening, and which is not directly art-related,” Myers said in a phone interview. “But I think Indigenous artists are wanting to also acknowledge that these forms of activism are happening. There was walking from a community in Nunavut, [Idle No More] walking to Ottawa to make a point.”

“Walking to safety is a really important narrative in talking about survival, and surpassing survival to freedom,” says “Walks of Survivance” curator Srimoyee Mitra.” [credit]


Lisa Myers, ‘Blueberry Spoons’, 2010, video, 7’37”

Jeanne-Claude and Christo, The Gates (1979-2005)

orange gates in NYC central park

Jeanne-Claude and Christo – The Gates

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“The installation in Central Park was completed with the blooming of the 7,503 fabric panels on February 12, 2005. The 7,503 gates were 4.87 meters (16 feet) tall and varied in width from 1.68 to 5.48 meters (5 feet 6 inches to 18 feet) according to the 25 different widths of walkways, on 37 kilometers (23 miles) of walkways in Central Park. Free hanging saffron colored fabric panels, suspended from the horizontal top part of the gates, came down to approximately 2.1 meters (7 feet) above the ground. The gates were spaced at 3.65 meter (12 foot) intervals, except where low branches extended above the walkways. The gates and the fabric panels could be seen from far away through the leafless branches of the trees. The work of art remained for 16 days, then the gates were removed and the materials recycled.”

Millie Chen, Tour (2014)

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a video showing on the wall of a dark room

Millie Chen, Tour (2014)

Walking across these sites, Chen actively and physically engages with the land to process difficult events. The audio includes lullabies from the countries represented in the work.

Tour, 2014, an audio-video installation that contemplates arguably “healed” genocide sites, provokes the question: How can we sustain the memory of that which has become invisible? How can we possibly represent such horrific history and maintain the critical specificity of the local within a narrative about the global? Events that occurred over the last century retain heat as some victims and perpetrators are still alive, and justice, truth, and reconciliation processes are still underway. Yet, with the passage of this amount of time, these genocidal events are already archived as history—we have gained some distance from them, and have even started forgetting: Murambi, Rwanda (April 16–22, 1994); Choeung Ek, Cambodia (April 17, 1975–January 7, 1979); Treblinka, Poland (July 23, 1942–October 19, 1943); Wounded Knee, United States (December 29, 1890).

A history of human atrocities can become easily absorbed, literally, back into the land. Despite the fact that the violent impact of humans scars the earth, nature can readily absorb these acts of horror, often ironically becoming more verdant as a result. But the brutal facts remain. It is only through the persistence of individuals retelling past events that we can keep alive the history, even as acts of atrocity continue to be perpetrated in the present.

The installations and videos of Millie Chen (Canadian, born Taiwan, 1962) function as sensory experiences that question the perceptual and ideological assumptions of the audience. With her focus on sociopolitical inquiry, Chen explores how art can address the human condition through surrogate cues. About her working practice, Chen states, “Essential to my practice is the role of sensory modes of perception in the generation of knowledge. I have experimented with materiality and with immaterial, non-visual elements like sound and scent within specific contexts in order to interrupt habits of viewing. Within my visual art practice, the act of looking is interrogated.””

Maya Lin, “Vietnam Veterans Memorial” (1982)

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Vietnam memorial ariel shot

Maya Lin, Vietnam Memorial

“Lin’s design called for the names of nearly 58,000 American servicemen, listed in chronological order of their loss, to be etched in a V-shaped wall of polished black granite sunken into the ground. … When Lin first visited the proposed location for the memorial, she wrote, “I imagined taking a knife and cutting into the earth, opening it up, an initial violence and pain that in time would heal.” Her memorial proved to be a pilgrimage site for those who served in the war and those who had loved ones who fought in Vietnam. It became a sacred place of healing and reverence as she intended.”