For many people, Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, and with it, the beginning of camping season. In June, artist-in-residence Martin Hogue returns to Stone Quarry Hill Art Park to continue his project of introducing the cultural practice of camping in this unique setting.
Hogue teaches landscape architecture in the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at the State University of New York in Syracuse. His work has been displayed in solo exhibits at over 25 venues across the United States, and his book “Thirtyfour Campgrounds” was published by The MIT Press in November 2016.
Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in Cazenovia provides emerging and established artists the time and space to create site specific installations amidst a 104-acre rural, agrarian landscape. What makes the Art Park unique is the way it extends this notion of time and space to the public. Because the Art Park is open 365 days a year from dawn to dusk, visitors encounter and become part of this working landscape. The result is a constant interplay between people, place and art.
This model allows visitors to see both process and product. Visitors can watch the wind flow through and manipulate a sculpture at one site, walk a bit further and engage with an unfinished piece and its artist at another site. These relationships are reciprocal. The art at Stone Quarry Hill Art Park depends upon artists, viewers and an environment in which it can exist.
Martin Hogue’s “Camping at the Art Park” brings these symbiotic relationships to the forefront. Hogue has carefully selected four campsites and will mark them with a cyan-painted picnic table. Hogue’s picnic tables, paired with his map and an online reservation system, will transform these four spaces, the environment, into sites.
But camping is not camping without campers. Hogue’s work depends on Art Park visitors claiming these sites by reserving them online and agreeing to be the stewards of those sites for a weekend experience. These visitors would traditionally be the viewers, the art consumers. However, in Hogue’s “Camping at the Art Park,” these viewers simultaneously experience and create the art; they are active participants. In this way, Hogue’s “Camping at the Art Park” illustrates the dynamic relationships at play in the Art Park.
The Art Park is whatever manifests at a given point in time and space because of the interactions between people, place and art. At the end of June, the picnic tables will go into storage, the fire pit will be dismantled and there will be very little evidence that the Art Park was, for one month, a campground.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.