Finding role models in the desert
This week, Mae and I found ourselves standing in the shadow of Prada Marfa, a permanent art installation parked on an empty west Texas highway. Soaking up the desert sun and snapping pictures in front of the fake storefront, it was difficult to believe that, a mere 24 hours earlier, I was combatting the NYC chill with two layers of pants (#heattech represent!).
Prada Marfa has been on my "places to visit" bucket list since I passed through the area five years ago on a cross-country trip and neglected to check it out. Something about the project stuck with me -- from the visual gag of a luxury retail outpost in the middle of nowhere, to the intention of the creators to build it and then leave it be, letting it "degrade back into the natural landscape." Despite a brief departure from this promise (three days after the sculpture went up, it was vandalized and subsequently repaired), the objective still holds water: art for art's sake. As our job often involves creating something intriguing with a necessary secondary purpose, seeing something that was built simply to exist was moving. It also confirmed a core Obviously Social belief that everything we do should be able to stand on its own. Or, as Mae said during the SPS Digital Disruption panel in January, "We want to produce inherently cool, interesting content for our clients; authentic content that makes them more compelling by association." We want to put things (writing, campaigns, infographics, pictures, etc.) into the social sphere that are captivating, first and foremost.
Whether it's the juxtaposition of blatant consumerism and desolation, or the significance of the Prada brand itself (an Old Navy facade, for example, would pack less of a punch), Prada Marfa begs to documented, photographed and shared. It's something for us to aspire to in our work: build something that stops people in their tracks to plant a stake that says: "I found this, I was here, I'm a part of this."
Lucia Davis is Director of Content at Obviously Social.