Rebirth of the Project
At the end of 2014, after an unsuccessful online purchase of tickets for the Burning Man 2015 festival (Nevada, USA), a sketch of the sculpture was submitted for a grant, which gave a chance to get the tickets in case of victory. The sketch of "Love" was not chosen by chance, since the sculpture was to be increased 10 times, to survive a tough shipping and installation in the desert, the steel pipe became the main material of the sculpture. And the simplest implementation option turned the figures of adults into a cage for children, which reinforced the idea and visual effect at times.
At the beginning of 2015, the project was pre-selected, after which a sketch of the sculpture was welded in the size of 77 x 45 x 175 cm and a system for packing parts in a 40-foot container was thought out. The main difficulty was the development of production estimates. Due to the lack of travel experience in the United States and the installation of large-sized objects in the desert, the correct budget calculation was next to impossible. Right before the closing of applications for the second round of selection, all information about the project was lost, but thanks to the efforts of Margarita Milova, the work was submitted and passed the final selection successfully.
In March 2015, the organizers of the "Burning Man" festival approved the project and published an image of "Love" in the title of all art objects that received a grant from the festival. Realizing the opportunity, not realizing any possible difficulties, the author of the project turned for support to Sergey Kutsenko (later the project producer). The decision to participate was made by tossing a coin.
Since the grant amount covered only 33% of the estimated costs, the search began for additional sources of financing. The Facebook page "Burning Man Ukraine" was registered. Subsequently, the team was named that way, and Odessa residents began to promote the project as a national one. In the wake of political upheavals and the outbreak of war in Eastern Ukraine, the idea of reconciliation embedded in the sculpture was unpopular and did not receive support among major art curators, businessmen, and politicians. The fundraising launch on Kickstarter andIndiegogo also failed.
Time was running out, and it was necessary to quickly begin the construction of the sculpture, but the Burning Man Ukraine team could not quickly receive a grant due to the peculiarities of Ukrainian legislation. In this regard, Alexander Milov and his wife decided to abandon purchasing of an apartment, which began a few months earlier, but it was delayed due to problems with the documents. That let them launch the project into production and concentrate on team building.
Sculpture production and participation in the festival
Arthur Zingrosh and his friends from "Atskiy Satan" / "Hellish Satan" bike club specializing in motorcycle remodeling became the master of metal cages manufacturing. It was decided to hand over the manufacture of fiberglass children to a car body master Igor N., in order to avoid possible problems with the deadlines that usually arise in working with professional artists. It was decided to sacrifice observance of anatomy for the sake of speed, which added naivety in the form of children and as a result allowed to manage to send work to the festival on time.
In May, a 5-meter-high figure of a child was exposed on Odessa Langeron beach, and lighting was tested during the day. This attracted the attention of the media and caused mainly negative criticism from the viewer, as the figure was disproportionate and in itself did not cause sympathy. But it also attracted the attention of those who eventually became the backbone of the team that traveled to the USA and strengthened the faith of Odessa residents in their own forces.
After shipping the sculpture off to the USA , the team began to prepare documents and apply for a visa to the United States for all its members. Most of the guys, unfortunately, did not receive the latter, despite three resubmissions of applications. This led to the replacement of master Arthur Zingrosh with Alexander Ovsyanko, who joined the project, and the position of producer was transferred from Sergey Kutsenko to Kirill Mulman, who became the backbone of the Burning Man Ukraine team in the USA.
Since Ukraine was going to "Burning Man" for the first time, all the information and moral support was provided to the guys by the leaders of the Burning Man Russia team, Syoma Payain, Sasha Mironov and Oleg Tolstoy, who by that time had had experience in participating in the festival. The Russians invited the Ukrainians to help with the procurement, construction of the camp and catering. Given this, the organizers of the BM have placed the camps of the two countries nearby. Alexander Milov wanted friendship of the teams against the backdrop of the conflict between the states to reflect the merger of inner children, enclosed in the cages of their adults, as in the sculpture that he created.
At this stage, the guys were saved by a sincere desire and faith of all the team members, as well as the support of the festival organizers. Everybody did their best in helping: at the moment when there was a loss of bolts, and 200 km of traffic jam stretched to the nearest store in Reno, one of the festival participants offered his own plane. All that was missing for the installation work was announced by the announcers on the local radio. Thanks to the professional experience of the welder and installer Alexander Ovsyanko and the technical support by David "Spyral", Love managed to have lighting on by the first sunset of the festival.
During the festival, there was a round-the-clock watch to protect everyone from climbing onto a sculpture and a possible fall. Also, the generator was constantly monitored. All lighting was designed for 220 volts, and in the event of a breakdown, it would be unsuitable for repair, since the voltage in the USA is 110 volts. On day 4, the main generator was clogged with dust, and I had to switch to a spare generator used in the camp, which successfully completed the final of the festival.
Resonance and fate of the project after the festival
After the end of the festival, the Odessites , unable to take out the sculpture from the desert on their own, turned to the organizers for help. They allocated a container and a place on the Burning Man ranch for a period of one year for free, during which Alexander Milov pledged to take out the sculpture or was forced to donate it to the festival. Since the sculpture did not fit into the container in large segments, it had to be cut and packed manually. After that, the Ukrainians went on a trip to the United States, and on the road found that they had become famous and in every city they were accepted as their own. A vivid impression was the apartment in Manhattan, provided without prior acquaintance by Odessa resident Tina Goloborodko and the party organized by her in honor of the arrival of fellow countrymen in New York
Several large companies found by the Burning Man representatives began negotiations on the purchase, but after examining the state of the sculpture they refused, because the art-piece was cut and stored not in the best way, and most importantly, it was severely corroded. The management of "Burning Man", believing in a successful outcome of the negotiations, offered to extend the contract and gave another year of free storage. But a few months later, when it became clear that there was little chance, they asked to release the container as quickly as possible
During this period, Odessa residents received an offer to buy a sculpture from a winemaker from Hungary. The amount covered all the costs at that time and made it possible to restore and install the original "Love" in the city of Val, not far from Budapest. It was decided to go to these conditions. David Spyral and his friends on Thanksgiving Eve heroically transferred the sculpture from the Burning Man container to the container of the transport company, which was provided by the representatives of the buyer. The sculpture returned to Ukraine after 2 months, and within another two months was completely digested with the replacement of 30% of the metal.
In August 2017, the sculpture was brought to Hungary and installed. The project master Arthur Zingrosh was not given allowance to cross the border by the Hungarian side, as he had the pass on the basis of a Greek visa. After an urgent request and an explanation of the purpose of the visit, he was given an official refusal. Thanks to this, an assembly team of 5 people had to overcome a 4,000 km long path in the Balkans within 4 days in order to put a stamp on entry through Greece to the master.
The official opening took place on September 1, at the same time as the Burning Man festival. The opening was attended by statesmen of Hungary, as well as the outstanding musician Edwin Marton, who played the Stradivarius violin, specially brought to this event. At the end of the festival, a huge bonfire was lit to honor the Burning Man. Upon returning to Ukraine, a full-size copy of LOVE was launched into production, the installation of which took place in 2018.