As the first artist-in-residence brought in by the new Artists@Grinnell program this spring, you might wonder if Scott Hocking has worried about his responsibility to lead by example, or at least that he would make the ten-day stay worthwhile — maybe, that is, until you see his work.

The Detroit-native has in fact already faced many unpredictable and harsh scenarios as an international artist, mostly voluntarily. A photographer and sculptor, much of Hocking’s work is based in abandoned, deteriorating buildings in shrinking urban sprawls, where he takes materials from their respective sites and builds installations. After and during documentation — sometimes for years following — he leaves the sculptures to surprise the scrappers, “ruin porn” explorers, and EPA cleanup crews, and keep his artwork outside of the gallery to balance out the many exhibitions he’s had for his photographs and other installations.

“What is the different between a ruin and a monument?” Hocking asked at his Writers@Grinnell book talk in Faulconer Gallery, where his pop-up exhibition of eleven prints are currently hung. He finds that distinction a universally important one for people, which his efforts clearly illuminate.

Much of Hocking’s time here so far, however, has been spent as a mentor to the Art, Music, and English Interdisciplinary seminar with professors Lee Emma Running, John Rommereim, and Dean Bakopoulos.

The forty-plus students from each background have been working all week on collaborative installations strewn about the Grinnell College campus. The installations, some of which rely on performances or lighting, will be viewable during a walking tour Monday, March 10, 2014. The tour begins at 7:30 p.m. at Main Quad, 1221 6th Ave, and moves north through the fine arts, science, and other buildings, ending at 10 p.m.

Hocking’s approach to spaces and materials is nothing short of stimulating to the class and their work.

Indeed: ask any student who’s encountered Hocking, and you’ll know how worthwhile his residency has been.

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