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Monday, November 11, 2013

Images from Opening Night 

of the installation

"Hiraeth in Northampton: An Exploration of Longing"



The installation will be up at Historic Northampton Museum (46 Bridge St., in Northampton, MA) until 6 December, 2013. The images printed on old windows--salvaged from local farmhouses--are from Bridge Street Cemetery in Northampton. They're all examples of beautiful, inventive, forgotten 18th century stone carvings, from the death's heads carved early in the century to more portrait-like soul effigies carved toward the end.

My hope was to initiate a conversation between past residents of the city and current ones, by inviting visitors to choose a window and stand behind it, and also to choose a line of text as a caption. The texts come from epitaphs on the gravestones--such as "Earth's highest station ends in 'here he lies'," pictured above--and also lines from poetry and discussions of "hiraeth," which is a Welsh word implying an unrequited longing: something along the lines of "The Presence of Absence," also pictured above.

Opening night was terrific: many people participated, and I thank you, one and all. If you're anywhere near Northampton, please go and have your picture taken!