Visages of the Underground

Description of Project

In the project’s second phase during the summer 2017, elements of the PHLA public sites moved in a public procession from the city to the Museum’s Perelman Building. Conceived by Keir Johnston and Ernel Martinez of the artistic collaborative, Amber Art & Design, this series of performances was collectively titled, Visages of the Underground. 

Through these performances, Johnston and Martinez mapped routes that speak to the historical trails of the local indigenous community; to the traverses of undocumented immigrants; to the passages of freedom in relation to past and modern slavery; to the pathways of those who travel under persecution – offering a new map that speaks to the subjects and stakeholders that have been ideated as part of PHLA. 

At each site, visitors were invited to join in the performance, allowing for organic movement and interaction along the way. Each performance ended at the Perelman Building of the Philadelphia Museum of Art located at 2525 Pennsylvania Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130, where the sites associated with the project’s atmospheres were re-assembled in a participatory and interactive display that invited open dialogue among collaborators and the project’s multiple audiences.


Philadelphia Assembled


August 2017


Jeanne van Heeswijk


Photos by Conrad Brenner of Streets Dept