'Exploded Paradigm' by Conrad Shawcross displayed inside the Comcast Technology Center.

Art Installations Unveiled at Comcast Technology Center


Today, Brian Roberts, Jenny Holzer and Conrad Shawcross unveiled two installations in the Comcast Technology Center lobby. Jenny introduced her digital art installation, For Philadelphia, and Conrad shared an inside look at the creation of his sculpture, Exploded Paradigm. Members of the Philadelphia art community joined the reception, which featured light bites and refreshments from Vernick Coffee Bar. A description of each installation can be found below:

For Philadelphia, 2018

Jenny Holzer presents writing by poets, architects, visionaries, and children as a site-specific installation of nine electronic displays built for the Winter Garden ceiling of the Comcast Technology Center. Holzer proposed an artwork to echo the spirit, history, and diversity of Philadelphia and beyond by drawing content from resident and international writers, from archives, and from contributions by local students. Now text flows across the electronics in a range of colors and effects to mirror and amplify the voices represented on the art. The electronics span the Center between 18th and 19th Streets, providing multiple viewing points from the Winter Garden and the escalators, as well as from the street through Foster+Partners’ transparent architecture. At night, the Center’s glass walls offer seemingly infinite reflections of the artwork. The content is to be updated periodically to provide Comcast visitors, employees, and the Philadelphia community with text from all over the city and the world.

Exploded Paradigm, 2018

Exploded Paradigm is Conrad Shawcross’ largest public art commission to date, and his first permanent commission in the United States. The work is latest in the Paradigm series, continuing the artist’s investigations into the tetrahedron and finding systemic ways to exploit its beguiling properties. For Exploded Paradigm, the artist has further warped and stretched the rules of the tetrahedron; exploding its skin to form a complex spiralling and sequential form; a steel vortex heading into the sky.

Beyond its rule-based and exact geometry, the work seems optimistic yet fallible; surging up from humble beginnings, increasing in scale at every twist until it seems scary for it to continue any further. Indeed, as a result, while the structure in essence is stable, there is a sense of precariousness and of collapse if the system were to continue to grow. Within the vast Winter Garden atrium of the Comcast Technology Center, the work is an ascending totem to endeavour itself.

Made of cast iron and mirror polished stainless steel, the Exploded Paradigm is a huge feat of engineering and precise fabrication. As with many of Shawcross’ works, Exploded Paradigm at first seems to be highly rational through the authority and rigour of its design. Yet beneath this, the work defies definition and, as a result, the viewer is forced towards more metaphysical, philosophical, and conceptual interpretations.

Conrad Shawcross’ Paradigms are an ongoing exploration of the tetrahedron, geometrically a four-sided non-tessellating form and conceptually the symbol of an indivisible unit of matter. As a building block, the tetrahedron behaves as an irrational number, creating sequences that in theory, extend into infinity without repetition. Other major examples include Paradigm, 2016, a permanent installation commissioned by the Francis Crick Institute in King’s Cross, which is one of the tallest public sculptures in central London. The title of the series refers to the notion of the paradigm shift – a leap of imagination that jolts scientific enquiry forwards and collapses pre-existing notions of what is true – identified by the American physicist and philosopher Thomas Kuhn (1922–1996).