When an art object, process or event is presented as some form of memorial there are probably an infinite number of interpretations. Especially in the context of Burning Man. Yet there are two interactions that seem to be the most deeply felt regardless of context. Both aid the passing of grief but with a significant difference.
The first attaches personal meaning that serves as a tribute. A welcomed chance to acknowledge and keep a memory alive, a celebration of time that was shared. The second is a need to attach meaning as part of a process of self-forgiveness. An act that helps purge guilt and regret over time that was mis-spent, now realized by the change in perspective that a significant loss can make clear. Unfortunately this new clarity arrives too late.
Forming an arc are related elements separated by distance. Each element is a tree made partially of scrap wood. Recycled and, if only temporarily, regaining a shape similar to its original form. Relative size and distance suggest the cycle of life and the passage of time. Shape, material, size and distance a reflection of the Green Man as representing the cycle of growth and the rebirth of spring. And just as the Green Man can represent the spirit of the woods, foliage and trees, these trees represent the human spirit.
At the east end of the arc, aligned with the rising sun is a single tree. Symbolic of the beginning of life and the point-of-view of youth, the "beginners mind". At the west end a larger tree is aligned to the setting sun. Symbolic of the end of life's cycle and the point-of-view of experience. Between these two are more trees. Suggesting a path linking the two, each tree symbolic of the point-of-view of context. Physical distance as metaphor, literal points-of-view as cultural, emotional and psychological points-of-view.
Conservation is the responsible use of valuable resources. These points-of-view represent possible places to look, perspectives to seek out, to help prioritize and determine the relative importance of the people, places, and things in our lives. This relative importance determines how we spend and use our most valuable resource of all, time.
On Friday evening the trees will be partially disassembled and moved to a community burn platform to be burned. Not only providing warmth, but also symbolic of the temporary nature of our possession of time.
The comparison of two narrowly defined reactions and interactions is the original inspiration for this piece. Obviously it's not simply and solely a matter of priorities and relative importance, determining how time is spent, that prevents regret. Luck, fate, accident, intuition, beliefs and personal experience all play a role in our decisions. Sometimes our decisions are good ones, sometimes not. Sometimes its the decisions of others that can cause us grief. Ultimately this piece is an exploration of possible conscious actions that might be taken towards the chance of making the best decisions and gaining insight into the motivations behind our choices.
The hope is to communicate the value of time and the benefits of being able to see outside our own, current, mental perspective. A point-of-view that seems absolute, but a view that will change with time and context. To illustrate the value of other perspectives in not only determining relative importance, but in the possibility of revealing unseen opportunities, solutions, and better understanding.
Moving from tree to tree within the group will be a conscious physical action creating a physical change in perspective - a mirror of attempts to consciously change mental perspectives. The grouping will offer shade and protection from winds creating social space. A social space will also be created around the final burn.