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Connection, Passageway between Comcast Technology Building and Comcast Building, Philadelphia
digital printed light boxes, 2018

At first glance, Connection, a site-specific digital photo collage by Sarah Zwerling, appears to be a sequential, panoramic photo series of the Philadelphia cityscape, captured on a beautiful spring day. Over time, however, the environments depicted begin to unfold in unexpected ways as the work reveals surprising perspectives through the dreamlike space. The sensation of being enveloped in a chromatic landscape; the consciousness of the flow between neighborhoods, connected by a network of wires and organic forms; the awareness of our suddenly shifting perspective in response to some newly-noticed natural or architectural detail: these experiences become the subject of this expansive, immersive piece.

To help bring a sense of air, light, and openness to the underground tunnel, the artist turned her eye upward, taking hundreds of photographs of the trees, skies and architectural facades in a winding east-west trajectory through the city. Zwerling’s multidisciplinary artwork explores a personal relationship with natural and built spaces through processes of digitally manipulated photography, sculpture, and installation. Sarah Zwerling lives and works in Philadelphia.

 

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Hamilton Street, Philadelphia
digital collage printed on clear vinyl, 2009

When invited to do a piece for the walkway at the Philadelphia airport I visited the site to see how people would see this collage. One is able to see these images from all angles; looking up from below, and from both the inner and outer areas of the terminal passageway. Travelers leaving their homes, or returning to their homes would pass through this walkway. I wanted to use photographs of the homes in my neighborhood because I felt that the character of these buildings, as they have developed over time through the small modifications, renovations and weathering, were an expression of many human experiences in one specific place. The houses were photographed on my street, Hamilton Street, and some of the trees were photographed in Fairmont Park.

I like the idea that people would be walking along this path and looking up at it the same way I walk along the streets in my neighborhood and look through peoples windows and look up at the changing trees and architecture. Although Philadelphia is known for it’s row houses, these twin houses are characteristic of my neighborhood, and are interesting because of the way that they evolve due to their joint-ownership.

While working on the images, I altered the placement, scale and color of the trees and birds to animate the scene and create an entrance to a more imagined place. This space could be experienced first-hand – as I have experienced on walks in my own neighborhood.

 

Woo
hand-blown sugar, resin, projected light, animation, audio, 2004

The atmosphere for this installation was triggered by my emotional response to twentieth century American love songs.