Jan 26, 2010

Maya Lin - Unchopping a Tree from What is Missing? Foundation on Vimeo.

A beautiful video by Maya Lin, the designer of the Vietnam war memorial in DC. It uses this what if it happened here trope that is common in appeals for solidarity. If the bombing were in San Francisco instead of Baghdad, these are the blocks that would have been bombed sort of thing. I suppose this is an appeal for empathy as a way to build solidarity, but instead of really asking us to walk in their shoes, imagining going there, it's an attempt to see how their shoes don't fit us at all, but instead seem unthinkable here.

The bummer about this video is that it the small print at the bottom of the vimeo page suggests that carbon offsets are an answer and that you should contribute to conservation international, one of my least favorite BINGOs (big international NGOs), given their history of not working well with native folks in Guatemala and other places. Ah well. Maybe that says something about how far this sort of empathy takes you.

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