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Installation Photos: Constance Mensh

One of the big questions which motivated this project was: How do we make sense out of the rapid and disorienting architectural change happening in Philadelphia right now?

Linger looks back at a similar moment to consider: What did rapid change in Philadelphia look and feel like 60-70 years ago in this spot? It was a moment when outdated mid-twentieth century Philadelphia was transformed by urban renewal into something modern and new. For Park Towne Place it meant "cleaning up" remnants from the outdated housing and little factories just south of the new Parkway.  Linger 1 cuts away the ground to situate its towers above a garden of what came before. Linger 2 complicates the narrowly progressive view outward from Society Hill and University City, to include Southwark, Sharswood, Mill Creek and Mantua. 

The two installations make visible buildings, places and fragments, linking memory and history, to consider what lingers.

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Four detailed ceramic installations in a pair of historic vitrines present “An Archive of Desire.” Composed of several scenes, the story of the house's history is told from various points of view.


Cupola recreates the roof and room which originally topped the mansion.


Tiny Movie Theater (in the cabinet below) offers a cluster of chairs to view a screening of the rooftop sunrise on loop.


Remnants presents five macquettes from the exhibition space:

Servant's Stair

Cupola Base with Ladder


Model of Fractured/Reflections

Pink Bathroom.


Night Garden (in the cabinet below) reimagines the river stairs and garden along the Poquessing Creek, illuminated by the moon and stars.


The four scenes are cyclical and related: dawn to dusk, top to bottom, riverbed to rooftop, childhood to old age, newly made to decay, hope to despair, simplicity to complexity.


The work is written in the language of clay: from cone 10 porcelain to a variety of mid-fire stone and earthenware clay bodies. There are thousands of pieces: river rocks, blades of grass, bathroom tiles, lighting sconces; finials, spires, balustrades, corbels; vines, flowers, trees, sprouts and clover, sticks, shrubs and mushrooms; lamp shades, fireflies, ladders and stairs, stonewalls and slate pieces; the thinnest plates for a movie screen, various moons and stars. Each piece is hand formed and fired, mortared together, wired up and programmed.


The installations propose different ways to understand history: an idealized recreation; a complex model including the real, imaginary, and stylized; a movie that replays a specific moment. The fourth space offers an alternative, looking at what's all around us and seeing how that's the product of history. Visitors are invited to see themselves as part of this history with the very space they occupy recreated and installed in the vitrine.

Fractured Reflections is an accompanying installation on the grand staircase landing. The bookshelf with ninety-six one-foot square mirrors, each at a slightly different angle, is a demonstration in the complexity of point-of-view. It offers a fifth, metaphorical approach to how history is constructed. Hidden, red flannel sandbag supports keep the mirrors in place.

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