Pace Verso

Maya Lin

Ghost Forest Seedlings

Artwork Details

Maya Lin
Ghost Forest Seedlings
Released: Monday, September 18, 2023, 12PM EDT

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Above: Maya Lin, Ghost Forest Seedlings, one of 500 unique artworks, 2023 © Maya Lin, courtesy Pace Verso and E.A.T__WORKS

Maya Lin’s First-Ever Generative Art Project, Featuring Unique Physical Prints and Paired Digital Works

Pace Verso, the hub for integrated Web3 projects at Pace Gallery, is pleased to announce details of Maya Lin’s first-ever generative art project, Ghost Forest Seedlings. An extension of the artist’s acclaimed 2021 Ghost Forest installation, this new project is produced by Pace Verso in collaboration with the experimental Web3 art studio E.A.T__WORKS and technical development partners at NearForm, who worked with Lin to develop an algorithm that reflects her artistic sensibility. Ghost Forest Seedlings will be released on September 18, coinciding with Climate Week NYC, and be available for purchase at (opens in a new window) verso.pacegallery.com.

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. Each of the 500 unique works from the project will include three components: a signed print of the final root system; a generative NFT that shows the seedling’s evolution in real-time; and a video timelapse tracing the seedling’s complete growth pattern. Each physical artwork will be printed on Hahnemühle Bamboo paper by Brooklyn Editions, and they will be 23” by 23” in size, signed and unframed. Select prints will be on view at Pace’s 540 West 25th Street gallery in New York from September 19 through September 30.

Varying traits in Ghost Forest Seedlings 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.

An artist, architect, and environmental activist, Lin is known for her critical engagement with notions of site and place through a multidisciplinary, ecologically minded practice spanning large-scale environmental installations, intimate studio artworks, architectural projects, and memorials. Since her very first work, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., Lin has cultivated a highly acclaimed career in the fields of both art and architecture, while still nurturing a commitment to creating architectural interventions focused on history, memory, and cultural shifts. Her artworks have helped focus attention on critical environmental issues. One of her more recent projects, the award-winning digital platform and conceptual artwork What Is Missing?, is a multi-sited memorial to mass extinctions of species and habitat degradation that also proposes sustainable solutions for reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment.

The artist, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by US President Barack Obama in 2016, has been commissioned to create a sculpture for the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago, expected to open in 2025. Most recently, she was chosen to design a new performing arts studio building for the Fisher Center at Bard College in New York state. In 2022, TIME magazine named Lin one of the year’s most influential people.

Lin’s Ghost Forest Seedlings project is linked to her recent Ghost Forest installation, commissioned by the Madison Square Park Conservancy in New York. For that work, the artist brought 50 towering Atlantic white cedar trees to Madison Square Park as part of an examination of the Earth’s vulnerability and the impact of the climate crisis.

About the Project

With Ghost Forest Seedlings, Lin explores the organic growth patterns of a living, subterranean network of tree roots. Her blockchain-backed, generative algorithm for the project generates NFTs featuring seedlings that grow into expansive root systems over time, as well as physical prints that show the root network in its final, fully evolved state. 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 can be understood as part of Lin’s longstanding artistic investigations of phenomena in the natural world, for which she often engages with scientific tools and methods to reveal hidden and endangered elements of the environment.

In addition to Ghost Forest, Ghost Forest Seedlings relates to the artist’s sculptural, topographical studies of rivers, which she began producing in 2007. The delicate tendrils of the roots in Ghost Forest Seedlings recall the snaking linear forms of her sculptures of waterways, which speak to Lin’s interest in mapping topographical landscapes while also serving as meditations on the ways that natural resources defy and transcend borders and other human constructs. Like Ghost Forest Seedlings, the artist’s understated but deeply resonant sculptures of water and bodies of water merge the past and present, situating the climate crisis within the arc of natural history.

The conceptual underpinnings and formal qualities of Ghost Forest Seedlings also reflect Lin’s interest in depictions of organic—as opposed to fractal and geometric—patterns in computer generated art, and the algorithm she has developed for this project will generate growth patterns as varied and intricate as those found in nature.


The Roots of Ghost Forest Seedlings

Narrated by Maya Lin, this video essay by the artist explores the ecological phenomena that informed her new generative art project Ghost Forest Seedlings, which centers on organic growth patterns in a living, subterranean network of tree roots.

Screenshot 2023-09-19 at 11.37.40 PM


Exploring Maya Lin's Ghost Forest Seedlings Project

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Maya Lin_Ron Blunt

Portrait of Maya Lin. Photo: Ron Blunt

About the Artist

Maya Lin (b. 1959, Athens, Ohio) creates work that encompasses environmental installations, architectural projects, sculpture, and memorials. Critically engaging with considerations of site and place, her practice explores the development of systems that reflect on the environment, creating work that invites contemplation—intellectual, sensorial, and physical—of history and the natural world.

Learn More

  • Pace Verso — Maya Lin: Ghost Forest Seedlings, Aug 16, 2023