Sarah Beddington, From here to there and on beyond..., 2014, hand-etched glass, steel panels and lighting, Geraldine Ferraro Campus, Queens
From here to there and on beyond… is a site-specific installation incorporating hand-etched glass, steel panels and lighting for the lobby of the Geraldine Ferraro Campus in Queens.
The inspiration for the project came to British artist Sarah Beddington during a research trip to New York before construction on the site began. She noticed an almost continuous flow of airplanes flying above where the future school would be located. At the same time, looking down she saw a scrap of paper with the words “up where you belong.” These two observations inspired her to think about flight as a space of the imagination and the infinite universe beyond.
The piece is comprised of 44 glass panels set against a blue background, which illustrates a journey through time and space. Viewers are greeted at the entrance by a sequence of images showing a pelican taking off into flight. Below are the words “our imagination flies, we are its shadow on the earth.” The three other sequences zoom out in stages from an aerial map of the school’s neighborhood to outer space. Dispersed throughout is a curious array of images depicting different flying apparatus and creatures from the natural world: from the Concorde to a dragonfly, to the Wright Brothers’ biplane, or from a parachute to a jellyfish by way of flamingo and Amelia Earhart’s plane. The last panel shows a rocket based on the American Apollo series blasting off towards the moon. The viewer’s eye then continues upward to the ceiling where the steel panels and lighting are laid out to suggest a calendar with a celestial sky and the planets of the solar system.
Beddington hopes this work will encourage children to believe that “they can fly wherever they want to – they just have to imagine it.”