Harbor Memory - CODAworx

Harbor Memory

Submitted by Moya Sun

Client: Baltimore Office of Art and Promotion

Location: Baltimore, MD, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $65,000

Project Team


Moya Sun, leading artist


Industry Resource

Yong Huang

High Quality Electric LLC

Landscape Architect

Xinye Zheng, Xiaoyu Zhang



Baltimore Office of Art and Promotion

Baltimore Office of Art and Promotion


HARBOR MEMORY is one of the featured artworks of 2018 LIGHT CITY at Baltimore. The 2,600sqft light installation of stainless metal and optical fibers is located at Pierce’s Park, Inner Harbor, in front of Baltimore Waterfront Partnership. Surrounded by landmarks like the National Aquarium, the installation welcomed over 50,000 visitors through the festival. HARBOR MEMORY creates a sparkling wetland scenery as the representation of the glorious memory of inner harbor, a milestone of Baltimore urban development.


The landscape is always changing its appearance through the bubbling time stream. The bank of Chesapeake River evolves together with human society. Tracking back to 1729, before the born of the inner harbor, the place was surrounded by the water, meadow and later on with wheat. This invisible historical narrative is a vital part of the economical and cultural DNA of inner harbor and Baltimore. To unveil the unknown and the not-remembered speak of one location is important to maintain a sustainable identity and a collective awareness. However, the difference between human time scale and geologic time scale makes it difficult to preserve land memory together with the urban traces. As a memorial to the past of wildness and a celebration to the urban present, the installation ignites the inner harbor with hundreds of pots and dreamlike light fabrics. Here, the art piece represents the no-longer-exist waterfront with artificial plants, and the still-running river with a narrow path through the collective territory formed by the 375 portable planters. The poetic echo to the historical landscape view is educational and monumental to both Baltimore and Baltimoreans.


Three unique processes made the art piece even more impressive:
A TALE OF DUAL CITIES: The progress of installation is treated as an emotional flow between two harbor regions linked by the ocean: Shenzhen, the center of technology & manufacturing; Baltimore, the landing point of American history. Both regions of the project are urban areas fueled by hybrid transportation, resulting in a hybrid of people, industry, and culture. Tracing the process of the art installation’s transformation, from Shenzhen to Baltimore, from separate pieces to one piece of artificial terrain, narrates the metaphor of the journey of migrated people as well as wishes to the new “homeland” they devoted.
WORKSHOP: 75 drawings by kids from a local school were collected and displayed in the exhibition. Those drawings were created around several keywords, including “homeland”, “memory”, “waterfront”, and “plants”.
CLAIM YOUR LIGHT: This collection of 375 portable lights is an invitation for individual Baltimoreans. During the festival, visitors were encouraged to register for the lighting plants. Over 250 Planters were picked up by those registered visitors, new homes of lights spread from local backyards to nearby states like Virginia and Pennsylvania. The collective territory got an expanding life in a moving form.

Additional Information

4 scales of the metal container were included in the project. People could walk into the terrain of those 375 varied-size containers.