Endurance on the Delaware River

A fleet of sculptures are occupying the boat basin at the Independence Seaport Museum at Penn’s Landing on the Delaware River in Philadelphia from October 12 through December 7. FLOW, a temporary exhibition of floating sculptural installations, is a collaborative art initiative between Philadelphia Sculptors and the Museum.

Endurance is one of the 14 art installations floating in the boat basin which was created by artist and Philadelphia native Stephen Talasnik and was brought to life with the help of Pennoni. Talasnik spent the last 15 years in the Far East and made his Philadelphia return with his sculpture. Talasnik got his inspiration from the ship The Endurance, which was famously lost to the ice in 1915 during Ernest Shackleton’s voyage to make the first land crossing of the Antarctic.

Endurance is made primarily from bamboo and reed. Talasnik had to find a way to weigh down the feather-light artwork while still allowing it to float. Using a combination of cement anchors and high compression foam, Talasnik’s ice caps follow the motion of the Delaware River.

Pennoni provided guidance to Talasnik for the types of lights that can be used, the connection methods, and equipment for the final art piece. We purchased several samples of lights suitable for in-fountain under water installation and mocked up completed pieces for Talasnik’s review. He took photos of the mockups and made several adjustments to the beam spread, color, and intensity of the lights to be used for the final product.

Pennoni’s expertise included:

  • Routing supply wire to meet voltage requirements
  • Meeting the Museum and Coast Guard navigation lighting requirements and restrictions
  • Directed product placement to aid in tip-over prevention and wind survivability
  • Detailed sketches of each connection and provided instruction on waterproofing of connections

Talasnik spent two-and-a-half months creating his sculpture on site as artist-in-residence at the Museum and his work took to the water on the Monday before the exhibit’s opening.


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