Hidden City artists blaze new trail of ruins on Mud Island [photos]

    On Mud Island, planes arriving and departing Philadelphia International airport whizz overhead, a former Revolutionary War fort sits nearly abandoned, and driftwood and garbage wash up along the banks of the Delaware River.

    For artists Ben Neiditz and Zach Webber, this forgotten landscape has become the backdrop to their Hidden City Festival exhibit, Ruins at High Battery.

    Ruins at High Battery begins on a trail adjacent to Fort Mifflin and weaves visitors along a marsh-like path to encounter distressed structures that resemble tree forts or shacks.

    Surrounded by woods and ruins, the duo wanted to create a haunting aura around each structure and evoke a presence that once existed, but was no longer there.

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    “We wanted to create a pleasurable sense of uncertainty,” Neiditz explained. “People would encounter it and have to come up with their own narrative. Was this already here or was this created?”

    To construct the ad-hoc structures, the artists used salvaged wood, garbage, bones and other materials found on the shores of the Delaware River and the surrounding areas.

    They also took advantage of two pre-existing caves on the site and the Philadelphia skyline in the distance, adding to the sense of mystery and discovery within the exhibit.

    Ruins at High Battery and nine other Hidden City Festival sites are open Thursdays through Sundays until June 30.  Meet artist Ben Neiditz at the site on Sundays, June 16 and 23 from 2 – 4 p.m.  

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