Constellation was an independent large-scale sculptural project installed around the ruins of Bannerman’s Castle on Pollepel Island in the section of the Hudson River that passes through Hudson Highlands State Park in Lenapehoking. Every evening, as the sun went down, starry lights emerged one by one with the stars of the night sky. Constellation references a belief of the Lenape, the indigenous people of this area, of Opi Temakan, the “White Road” or “Milky Way”, connecting our world with the spirit world. Hovering around the perimeter of the Bannerman castle ruin, these lighted points referred to features of the structure still standing, as well as those details which no longer exist—creating a new constellation connecting past and present—and bringing new energy and perspectives to this majestic part of the Hudson River.
Each point of light is a solar powered LED installed on the top of an aluminum post, ranging in height from 40 to 80 feet, giving the appearance of each light floating seamlessly in the night sky. The project launched in late June, 2015 and was on view through October 2017. Constellation had many varied vantage points including boat and kayak tours, commuter trains, hiking trails, and roads on both sides of the river. Special programming and tours designed by artist Melissa McGill were offered in collaboration with Lenape Center.
Read the New York Times feature here.
An audio guide and a publication accompany the project, with contributions from Co-Founders and Co-Directors of the Lenape Center, Joe Baker and Hadrien Coumans, The New York Times Magazine staff writer Sam Anderson, 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry and 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States from 2017 to 2019, Tracy K. Smith, the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history, Richard Blanco, poet and artist Edwin Torres, and New Directions editor and poet Jeffrey Yang.
For more information, please visit melissamcgillconstellation.com