Took a day trip to Port Austin, Michigan this week, to take a look at Detroit artist Scott Hocking's new site specific piece, aptly titled, The Emergency Ark. The Ark, like much of Hocking's work, is dependent on the repurposing of found materials, which in this case, is a dilapidated barn found in the vast open spaces of farm country, located in the northern reaches of Michigan's thumb.
The proposal is the brainchild of Port Austin native Jim Boyle, co-founder of the Public Pool art gallery in Hamtramck, and now a Detroit resident. Boyle's plan, once completed, will include ten artists using area barns as their backdrop.
Using a barn, as a canvas, is nothing new. As they say, "It's already been done." But Hocking's barn has flipped the concept, by completely dismantling the barn and re-creating it as an upside down ark. Sitting conspicuously in the middle of a beet field, the ark not only transcends the barn itself, but the way in which we interpret spaces that are recognized as being the "countryside." Because of the vast and limitless space of the surrounding farms, you can't help but to be drawn to it, as it awkwardly rests in what us city folks naively refer to as the "middle of nowhere."
The barn is located about a mile South of Oak Beach Park, at the intersection of Oak Beach Road & Fehner Road. If you're coming from the Detroit area, just make your way up Van Dyke Rd till you get to Oak Beach Road. Happy trails.