Since he was 13-years-old, the story of Noah and mankind's demise at the hands of God has obsessed cult director Darren Aronofsky, and we're celebrating his environmental epic with Aronofsky on Dazed – an in-depth look of his work as an auteur of our time.
Noah wasn’t the only guy out there paranoid about a flood. Over the years, several apocalypse-prepared people have built arks in an attempt to forestall their coming reckoning. Sometimes they even build them just for fun. Check out these fellow ark builders…
After watching footage of the devastating aftermath of Fukishima’s tsunami in 2011, Chris Robinson – a former Facebook art director – decided to take some precautionary measures. Specifically, he set about building a giant “tsunami ball” just in case of another tsunami. Never mind the fact that he lives in Silicon Valley, a place very unlikely to ever get hit by a tsunami. Robinson just wanted to make sure that were the unthinkable ever to happen, he’d have an escape route. “No one is going to wear a jetpack on their back as they work in their office,” he explained in an interview with Wired. So he decided to make the next best thing. The ark is made entirely of plywood and stands tall at 22ft by 10ft wide. If you want to keep updated on Chris’s attempts, check out his blog.
As you may remember, December 2012 was a pretty tense month for everyone. After all, that was where the Mayan calendar ended, thus allegedly predicting the world’s inevitable end. Some people partied for their last days, others prayed to God in a last-ditch effort to save themselves, and some panicked and bought an ark. Lu Zenghai falls into the latter category. After panicking for years about the Mayan apocalypse, Lu Zenghai spent over £100,000 – his life’s savings – on building an ark to save him. The apocalypse hasn’t happened yet, but if it does Zenghai will definitely be ready for it.
If you were 1) really wealthy 2) really religious and 3) plagued with dreams of an upcoming apocalyptic flood, what would you do? If you’re Johan Huibars, you build an ark. An exact, down to the unit of measurement replica of Noah’s original ark, to be exact. After having visions of an upcoming tsunami, Huibers decided to try and recreate the famous ark, so that at least he and his family would have a way to escape if his dream came true. His first attempt at building the ark yielded a half-scaled mobile version that has become open to the public. A second, full-sized ark was completed a few years after. Both arks are fully mobile and have fake animals inside, all the better to help you feel like you’re actually in biblical times.
This one’s for any evangelical Christians out there. Ken Ham, founder and president of group Answers in Genesis, has recently enlisted his fellow believers to help him build a full-scale ark that will go in his Noah-themed amusement park: The Ark Encounter. The project is expected to cost £72 million, and will be built in northern Kentucky. In his announcement for the ark on his website, Ham said “God in His providence supplied our needs. We’re going to begin construction, and this is going to be great for the area… Let’s build the ark.” Ham was recently running pretty low on funds for his ark, but after having a televised debate with science guy Bill Nye (that Nye totally won) he was able to raise more money in support of his project.
In the 1980’s, Kea Tawana spent nearly a decade trying to get an ark built in Newark, New Jersey. After the area had been ravaged by riots, Ms. Tawana was looking for a way to reinvigorate the community. She decided that an ark would be the most symbolic way to do this, and thus set about creating an 86 foot long, 20 foot wide, 28 foot high ark. Unfortunately, city officials were not too pleased with the ark and tried – on multiple occasions – to tear it down. Tawana fought desperately against the law, sharing her story with news stations and getting hundreds of people to turn up at the ark’s building site to protest, but in the end the law won. Kea’s ark no longer stands in Newark.
After Hurricane Katrina, Rodolfo Almira found himself dismayed at the destruction and havoc that had left the local population in squalor. Inspired by the thought of creating a place for the wildlife to live, Almira enlisted three of his friends in helping him build an ark. This ark isn’t being considered the last salvation of human kind, however. Instead, Almira and his friends created the ark in an attempt to restore hope in their broken community. The group built the ark based off of a rough interpretation of God’s intstructions to Noah in the Bible.
There’s a legend in Colonial Heights, Virginia, that there’s a man building an ark. That man is John Davis and, while he admits to trying to build an ark, he insists that it is not because of a perceived impending apocalypse. Instead, Davis just really likes fishing and wanted something larger than your average fishing boat to go do it in.
PASTOR RICHARD GREENE
Richard Greene was simply reading his Bible one day when he allegedly heard the voice of God. “He would say, 'Richard, there was an Ark, and so shall it be, now build it as your new church'," Greene told BBC. That was in 1974. Now, almost 40 years and £200,000 later, the ark is still under construction. When the ark is completed, it will allegedly feature a 1,700-seat auditorium, a Christian grade and high school, a bible college, a medical and counseling clinic, food pantries, and a historical room. The church/ark/school conglomeration will be called God's Ark of Safety, the name of Greene's current church. Check out their business plan in the clip below.
SUN HUNG KAI
Hong Kong might not be the first place you’d expect to find a full-scale replica of Noah’s ark, but at a theme park financed by Sun Hung Kai Properties Co. that’s exactly what you’ll find. Sung Hung Kai wanted their next endeavor to be something different, so they decided backing a theme park based entirely on Christian scriptures would be fairly unexpected to the mostly Buddhist and Taoist population of Hong Kong. The park has stayed open against most expectations, and remains a family tourist attraction for any creationists that happen to stop by Hong Kong.
Dennis Holland maintains that he was never trying to rebuild Noah’s ark in the front yard of his Newport Beach house, but the similarities are there. Holland spent six years reconstructing the 72-foot boat on his front lawn, only to be told by Superior Court Judge Gregory Munoz that he had to get rid of it or face jail time. “I can't move the boat," Holland told the LA Times. "The city's going to have to come in and destroy it. I don't have the heart to."
Follow Miranda R Dellamaria on Twitter here @mirdellamaria