Wind (public installation), by Billy Mark and Sarah Mark

October 15, 2019
image of art
Photo by Sarah C. Blanchette Studio

For 40 days an empty lot in a Detroit neighborhood was the site of an installation titled Wind, by husband-and-wife artists Billy and Sarah Mark. It is made up of three flagpoles, a “flag” (a hoodie with 20-foot sleeves), a rope, a pulpit, two benches, copies of the psalms, and a journal. At designated times of sunrise and sunset, someone would read one of the psalms. People in the neighborhood were invited to engage the work by putting on the hoodie and raising the sleeves with the rope. When the space is not inhabited, the “flag” is filled by the wind. “This is art through the body,” says Billy Mark. “It is a practice of putting something on, which is to know it in a certain way.” The piece makes reference to specific events (the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the ropes used in lynchings), but the ultimate meaning of the art is left open. The symbols and images, he says, “are invitations to feel rope and clothing and wind.” Listening to the psalms, Billy Mark says, is a liturgy.