You’re walking through the woods, along a path that snakes along the Delaware River. Alongside the path are broken, mysterious structures–ruins of buildings, wood and metal industrial tools that are hard to identify, tree houses with ladders that beg you to climb them. See a canvas rope embedded in sand, follow its length, and discover a wooden bridge that traverses the tidal waters of the Delaware–filled with all the things that have washed up on these shores. Can you guess what they are? A tube of lip gloss. A rubber duck. The hull of a boat. And bottles–dozens, maybe hundreds of plastic bottles.
This installation piece rewards curiosity. For hikers who always stay along a marked trail, the gauntlet is thrown: The only way to assuredly discover each and every one of Ben Neidetz and Zach Webber’s surprises is to let your imagination–and that of your kids, if you’ve got some–take flight.
Yes, the walk causes you to ponder larger questions: Which is nature, which is man-made? What have we done to our planet if this is what washes ashore? Step over a dead catfish, a purely organic creature, and then find a packet of “herbal viagra” in a nook in a stone wall. One part of the installation? Surely not, but your eyes see juxtapositions differently now.
This is just one of the Hidden City Festival’s installations, and while all of them have been widely praised, this is getting extremely enthusiastic reviews. Also, get a package deal for admission to the Fort, a historical landmark (and where Harry Jay Katz used to throw wild parties). Great day out in nature, great art experience, and great day for the kids, who get to play an art- and eco-informed hide and seek. Oh, and for those who feel it’s far away, it’s by the airport, which is ample reachable by 76 or even by SEPTA. Absolutely worth it.
To get passes and the like, go to Hidden City Festival: Ruins at High Battery