Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

This year one of the classes I have been most excited for is Understanding Visual Culture.  I was just reading out of the text book about the concept of artists creating places for a human purpose.  They go on to use the Vietnam Veterans memorial as an example.  I was familiar with the memorial having traveled to Washington D.C. and seen it, but never thought of it as a work of art.  I have now changed my opinion.  It really is a work of art.  When Maya Lin designed it she tried to create a place that would honor the human sacrifice with out condemning or glorifying the war itself.  The wall starts low to the ground and works it’s way up.  Some may not even notice the shorter beginning areas causing it to start, much like the war, unnoticed.  The shiny black wall reflects everything and everyone around it.  As people reach up to touch the names of the honored soldiers, they end up touching and seeing their own reflection.  A way of showing that these soldiers were people much like ourselves.  Lin has described her works as “originating from a simple desire to make people aware of their surroundings, not just the physical world but also the psychological world we live in."  She wished to create “places in which to think without trying to dictate what to think."  With the Vietnam Memorial she was able to do just that.

I think what really hits me about Lin’s story is that she was only twenty-two when she designed the memorial.  Being only four years younger than that, it really shows me that now is the time to do what I want.  Time for myself to do the things I need to be happy.  I can take my life in whatever direction I want it to go in, and now’s the time to do so.

Originally written 8/16/10

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