Artist Unchops a Tree


What is Missing? According to artist Maya Lin‘s latest monument bearing this title, a lot of things-like all of the living species on earth that have or will become extinct within our lifetimes due to our rapid destruction of their natural habitats. 

Best known for her sculptures and landscape art such as the high-profile Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, which she designed when only 21, acclaimed Chinese-American artist Lin has now created the ‘What is Missing’ project, a series of works ranging from the static (listening cones for science institutions) to the more versatile (digital video pieces). These will all be accumulated and launched at the What is Missing website,, on April 22 this year-Earth Day.

In the meantime, there is content already being made available at the site. As Kevin Matthews, editor-in-chief of Architecture Week recently discovered, one stand-out work currently featured is ‘Unchopping a Tree,’ a media piece that according to him with ‘powerful, evocative simplicity.speaks deeply on the disaster of ongoing deforestation.’

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And I strongly agree with Matthews-this piece, despite being only 3:17 minutes in length, blew my mind. The subdued tone and visuals contrasted quite dramatically with the powerful feelings it evoked in me, giving the piece an overall feeling of powerful dignity. It’s well worth the time that may otherwise be spent watching a television commercial.

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