A glass boat, a suitably creepy vibe, the barren woods and Caddo Lake waters—all of this and more adds up to an artistic exploration of the Boggy Creek Monster.
Texarkana native Shana Hoehn explores the mythology of Fouke's infamous monster in a short video she'll screen Saturday night the Pocket Park downtown. Starting around 9 p.m., Hoehn will screen the short film "Boggy Creek Version 2" on loop until roughly 10:30 p.m. She invites people to come see it at this one-night art installation.
Hoehn, who now calls Houston home, created the 11-minute video as part of the CORE Program she's involved with at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Prominent locations where Hoehn filmed include the Monster Mart in Fouke, Boggy Creek itself and Caddo Lake, all places that figure prominently in or relate to Bigfoot and Bigfoot-type creature movies. She sought to bring together the mythologies of Bigfoot and the siren, an idea that came to her when she returned to Texas after studying art on the East Coast.
"It was kind of interesting because I didn't know at first what exactly I wanted to make," Hoehn said. She'd heard about horror movies being made about the Fouke Monster and Bigfoot creatures, but she hadn't seen them. She started watching, and from there the ideas grew.
Hoehn then began researching the actual events themselves, but soon realized that what she'd heard from other people actually originated in movies, not real life. She also saw a connection with a figure like Tony Alamo, also a larger-than-life personality who, with his ministry, resided in Fouke before his imprisonment and death. She realized that it was strange that both could exist in the same place.
Hoehn also thought about creatures like Bigfoot and the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman, as a character somehow ostracized from normal society and purposefully existing outside of it, even as someone who's lonely.
"It also felt like a symbol for more rural culture in general," Hoehn said.
She attended a Bigfoot conference in Jefferson, Texas, with her father as part of her research. "Everyone in the room was a true believer, at least that I met," she said. Her uncle grew up on Boggy Creek and appears in the video, as does she, driving her mother's car and paddling through the waters in that glass boat, as if on a quest.
The glass boat she found at a junk store. "It was crazy. It was next to a cannonball," she recalled about the discovery. She strapped that boat to her car and drove it to Texarkana.
For the boat, she created an angry mermaid figurehead, sort of skewed and chubby, looking as if it's screaming. She was playing with the idea of it as luring sailors, and she sees both the mermaid and Bigfoot as similar male explorer fantasies.
"I was thinking about this mermaid siren character as something that almost calls away from home," said Hoehn, who studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art and, for grad school, Virginia Commonwealth University.
In the video, these two characters are brought together in a space that's the stuff of horror movies. The docu-horror style of the Charles B. Pierce movie "The Legend of Boggy Creek" also inspired Hoehn, as did the idea of a misunderstood hominid like a Bigfoot.
"I think that the myths that a culture chooses, it really does say a lot about that culture," Hoehn said.
(On the Net: ShanaHoehn.com.)