Embrace: The Brief Life of Love
Embrace owned the horizon at Caravansary. No matter where you were on the playa, the giant figures loomed, majestic. It felt like it belonged there. It felt like it had been there for years, and would outlast the sands of time. It been hyped for so long that it was hard to believe it wasn’t a long-term playa presence, and just as hard to believe that this giant would fall in mere days.
Outside Embrace, I ran into Elyse and Steven. I asked for a demonstration. It occurs to me now that this statue encouraged a lot of public displays of affection.
It was my favorite burn: contemplative, but not as somber as the temple burn. Love feels so permanent when you’re in it, it’s the closest thing we can touch to immortality. But it isn’t. In the end nothing is forever. I wonder, was Embrace most fitting of the artist’s vision when it looked immutable on the horizon? Or while it was burning to the ground? Clearly the team who built Embrace meant us to think of it both ways. Another artist might have filmed the lovers burning and shown that as the art, but that only gets at one side of the duality. In experiencing the totality and permanence of it on the horizon, Embrace is a reflection of the excitement of new love. When Embrace burned, the meaning flips, and the memories of its form ascendancy over the horizon give the art that much more power.
This duality is part of the magic of Burning Man. How can something as unpredictable as fire be part of a work? It is art in action. The art is not here or there, it is something more than a fixed set of paint blobs by a solitary dead guy. The entire experience is one giant crowd-sourced work of art. From the nudist who carefully picked out her shoes and hat to the woman who decorated the Port-o-potties, Burning Man often pushes at the boundaries of how art has been traditionally defined.
From my Burning Man dance mix