The sculpture below is part of Maya Lin’s last memorial and is the first component of a multi-sited, multimedia artwork dedicated to raising awareness about the current crisis surrounding biodiversity and habitat loss. Rethinking the traditional stationary monument, What is Missing? is a memorial that will exist in several media and in multiple places simultaneously. The permanent site-specific What is Missing? sculpture, installed at the Academy’s East Terrace, is part of a larger commission awarded to the artist by the San Francisco Arts Commission that includes Where the Land Meets the Sea, which was unveiled last September to correspond with the opening of the Academy’s new facility designed by architect Renzo Piano.
The permanent "What is Missing?" sculpture consists of a 8'6"h x 10'8"w x 19'2"l bronze “Listening Cone” lined with reclaimed wood. A 2' 4 ¼"h x 4'6"w screen, located within the cone, features more than 20 minutes of compelling video footage that links extinct as well as threatened and endangered species to the habitats and ecosystems that are vital to their survival. The featured species, which include the tuna, dodo bird, monarch butterfly, golden toad, and others, were selected because they are either already extinct or will most likely disappear in our lifetime. The video footage is overlayed with text describing the decline of the featured species and the alarming degradation of their habitats. The text connects the viewer to the main causes of extinction—direct harvesting, non-sustainable hunting and fishing practices, the introduction of non-native species, habitat destruction and global climate change.
Photos: Bruce Damonte Photography, Inc.