By Elena Jessop and Peter Torpey, graduate students in Media Arts and Sciences
January 2011–May 2012
Hayden Library Courtyard Corridor

A cloud of vellum butterflies, newly emerged from the chrysalis of MIT’s diverse library pages, floats above in the corridor between the Lewis Music and Hayden Libraries. This installation has an unobtrusive but strikingly beautiful symbol of the guiding knowledge of the arts and humanities that have been developed and pursued at MIT over the last 150 years. The butterflies, printed with text from books, sheet music and pages of MIT theses, are illuminated by small lights from within. When the hallway is empty, these lights form occasional entropic patterns, but are always prepared to lead passerby through the space. When visitors approach either end of this hallway, one of several pathways of butterflies lights up in sequence ahead of them, creating a path through the cloud. The butterflies appeared near the end of February, before the first spring flowers, and will remain throughout the spring.

Funded in part by a grant from the Council for the Arts at MIT.