Thoreau’s Cloudland in Morse Code atop the Steeples
MASS MoCA’s Clocktower — in concert with four church steeples that define North Adams’ skyline — will be joined in a dramatically synchronized work of light art. Beginning May 26, and running all summer from dusk to midnight, the steeples and Clocktower will broadcast — using Morse Code beacons activated in unison — the Henry David Thoreau poem Cloudland, which the poet wrote after hiking up and spending the night at the mountain summit, the highest peak in Massachusetts. Upon waking to find himself caught above a solid deck of clouds hiding the valleys below, Thoreau wrote:
As the light increased
I discovered around me an ocean of mist,
which by chance reached up to exactly the base of the tower,
and shut out every vestige of the earth,
while I was left floating on this fragment
of the wreck of the world,
on my carved plank in cloudland;
a situation which required,
no aid from the imagination
to render it impressive.
The light installation will be on view every night from May 27 through September 5, from approximately dusk to midnight.