Maya Lin settles a ghost forest of dead trees in Midtown Manhattan

Artist and designer Maya Lin installed 49 dead cedars in Madison Square Park in Midtown Manhattan to raise awareness of the loss of ecosystems due to climate change.

Called Ghost Forest, the project was commissioned by Madison Square Park Conservatory. Dead Atlantic white cedars have been erected on the park’s oval lawn.

Ghost Forest is an installation of dead cedars

Linen transported the ghostly trees from where they were felled into the New Jersey Pine Barrens draw attention to deforestation caused by climate change.

“I wanted to bring a ghost forest to the heart of Manhattan and find trees as close to Manhattan as possible,” Lin explained.

Ghost Forest is a collection of dead cedars
Lin placed the forest in Manhattan. Photo is from Maya Lin Studio

All 49 trees had been damaged by problems related to the climate crisis and were cleared as part of a regeneration project.

“They had died due to extreme weather events linked to climate change: wind events, fire, sea level rise, salt water infiltration and poor forestry practices,” said the artist.

The installation will last for six months, during which time the park will visibly change with the seasons, while the dead cedars will become even more spectral as they decay.

In stark contrast to the living trees in the park, Lin said she wanted the skeletal shapes of Ghost Forest to invite passers-by to confront the reality of the pressure on ecosystems from climate change.

Maya Lin is an American artist and designer
The public is invited to interact with the work

“We have very little time left to change the way we live in the natural world,” Lin urged.

“I wanted to raise awareness of a death that is happening all over the planet. But I also think that a potential solution comes through nature-based practices,” she said.

Lin hopes to draw attention to the climate crisis
Ghost Forest is placed against trees and living buildings. Photo is from Maya Lin Studio

Lin and the Conservancy also run a program of public events focused on nature-based solutions climate change, including lectures from leading experts in the field.

A soundscape composed by Lin also accompanies Ghost Forest, which educates listeners about some of the native animals once common in Manhattan, such as the gray fox and the American black bear.

Maya Lin worked with the Madison Square Park Conservancy on the project
Ghost Forest will be installed for 6 months

“We are facing a huge ecological crisis, but I also think we have a chance to show what can be done to help protect species and dramatically reduce emissions from climate change by changing our relationship to the land itself. even, ”Lin concluded.

Other recent projects to raise awareness of the climate crisis include a variable font from the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat that reflects the decrease in the amount of arctic sea through the disappearance of letter shapes and a flag designed by journalist Evan Townsend for Antarctica to encourage people to do more to protect it.

The photograph is by Andy Romer unless otherwise stated. Preparatory sketches are courtesy of Maya Lin and Rhythm Gallery.

Ghost Forest is exhibited at Madison Square Park in New York until November 14, 2021. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events happening around the world.

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