Pace Verso

Exploring Maya Lin's Ghost Forest Seedlings Project

Published Thursday, Sep 14, 2023

Ghost Forest Seedlings—the first generative art project by artist, architect, and environmental activist Maya Lin—centers on the organic growth patterns of a living, subterranean network of tree roots. The project takes its title from Lin’s acclaimed 2021 installation Ghost Forest, for which she brought 50 towering Atlantic white cedar trees to New York’s Madison Square Park as part of an examination of the Earth’s vulnerability and the impact of the climate crisis. As such, Ghost Forest Seedlings reflects the artist’s deep sensitivity to the complexity, beauty, and fragility of the natural world and its interconnected systems.

Ghost Forest Seedlings artworks depict a seed or group of seeds that grows into an intricate root pattern, or seedling, over a predetermined amount of time. Priced at $1,000, each of the 500 unique works from the project will include three components: a signed print of the final root system on Hahnemühle Bamboo paper; a generative NFT that shows the seedling’s evolution in real-time; and a video timelapse tracing the seedling’s complete growth pattern.

All artworks are available online at (opens in a new window) verso.pacegallery.com.

The algorithm that Lin has developed for this project will generate growth patterns as expansive and intricate as those found in nature, and varying traits in the Ghost Forest Seedlings artworks include the number of seeds in each work; the colors of each seed and root; the number of roots that grow; and the duration of the growth period for the root systems, which can range from one hour to three months.

Ahead of the project’s release on September 18 during Climate Week NYC, Pace Verso has created curated selections of Lin’s Ghost Forest Seedlings prints based on their various formal and thematic qualities. This focused presentation follows below.


Lin’s Ghost Forest Seedlings are expressed in a range of phantasmagoric colors that can be understood in relation to the seasons. Here, the Pace Verso team presents a selection of artworks in four sub-categories: winter, spring, summer, and fall. While the colors in the “summer” prints are electric and vivid, the “fall” artworks lean into the rich, warm oranges, browns, and greens of the changing season. Calming blue tones cut across the “winter” root systems, and, in the “spring” prints, vibrant purples and greens mingle with browns and blues. Rendered in these seasonal hues, Lin’s sinuous, complex root systems speak to her longstanding artistic investigations of synergistic phenomena in the natural world.






Organized based on their cool, warm, monochrome, or multi-colors, the artworks in this category showcase the vast formal possibilities of Lin’s unique algorithm for the project. The cool, warm, and monochrome root systems are rife with tonal nuances, and unexpected color pairings in the multi-hued works produce exciting perceptual effects.






Lin’s linear Ghost Forest Seedlings compositions lean into different aesthetic territories, with some skewing maximalist and others more minimalist. Here, the artworks have been organized within those two categories. The maximalist compositions feature mesmeric entanglements of roots, often rendered in more than one color. The minimalist ones, meanwhile, possess a quiet poetry, depicting the growth patterns of singular seeds. Together, these maximalist- and minimalist-minded compositions speak to the simultaneous complexity and simplicity of the systems that make up the natural world.



  • Pace Verso — Exploring Maya Lin's Ghost Forest Seedlings Project, Sep 14, 2023