A Bill Moyers Special - Becoming American: The Chinese Experience

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Bicultural Influences

"My voice is very much coming out of a bicultural experience."

By Maya Lin

From a conversation between Bill Moyers and Maya Lin, the architect whose work includes the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C.

MAYA LIN: Not until my late 20s, as my body of work began to grow, did I really begin to see how my voice is a voice that is very much coming out of a bicultural experience. Still, even though I'm very interested, I still don't want to consciously go back in and start reading books on Zen or Buddhism because I don't want to premeditate that creativity or second-guess it.

BILL MOYERS: You just said you live in a bicultural world but that's a world where boundaries don't exist or they disappear. Why did you call your book "Boundaries"?

MAYA LIN: I think there's running liner text in the front that says, "I feel I exist on the boundaries, somewhere between an architecture east and west." So, everyone thinks boundaries and they think of the container. I'm thinking of the actual line between things. Because it's not about being divisive, it's about being truly ambivalent. You're in between, you're in the place neither here nor there.