Abandoned Asylums, deren verlorene Koffer und die Bibliothek aus Staub

Das hier ist Stoff, der locker für zehn bis zwanzig Horrorfilme reicht. Eine verlassene psychiatrische Klinik in Oregon begann 1913 damit, verstorbene Patienten, deren Verwandte nicht ermittelt werden konnten, einzuäschern. Die Urnen der Verstorbenen lagern dort noch heute und Fotograf David Maisel hat sie für eine Fotoserie abgelichtet. Das ist die Library of Dust. Die Klinik ist übrigens dieselbe, die bei „Einer flog über das Kuckucksnest“ als Drehort diente.

Library of Dust depicts individual copper canisters, each containing the cremated remains of patient from a state-run psychiatric hospital. The patients died at the hospital between 1883 (the year the facility opened, when it was called the Oregon State Insane Asylum) and the 1970’s; their bodies have remained unclaimed by their families.

The copper canisters have a handmade quality; they are at turns burnished or dull; corrosion blooms wildly from the leaden seams and across the surfaces of many of the cans. Numbers are stamped into each lid; the lowest number is 01, and the highest is 5,118. The vestiges of paper labels with the names of the dead, the etching of the copper, and the intensely hued colors of the blooming minerals combine to individuate the canisters. These deformations sometimes evoke the celestial – the Northern Lights, the moons of some alien planet, or constellations in the night sky.

David Maisel – Library of Dust (via BLDGBLOG)

Dann hätten wir da noch das verlassene Willard Psychiatric Center in New York. Als das 1995 schloss, fanden Mitarbeiter in einem Gebäude längst vergessene Koffer längst verstorbener Patienten, voll uralter Erinnerungen, Fotos, Briefe, die komplette Leben in stummen Geschichten erzählen. Ich könnte mich stundenlang durch diese Seite klicken.

When Willard Psychiatric Center in New York’s Finger Lakes closed in 1995, workers discovered hundreds of suitcases in the attic of an abandoned building.  Many of them appeared untouched since their owners packed them decades earlier before entering the institution.

The suitcases and their contents bear witness to the rich, complex lives their owners lived prior to being committed to Willard.  They speak about aspirations, accomplishments, community connections, but also about loss and isolation. From the clothing and personal objects left behind, we can gain some understanding of who these people were before they disappeared behind hospital walls.  We can picture their jobs and careers, see them driving cars, playing sports, studying, writing, and traveling the world.  We can imagine their families and friends.  But we can also see their lives coming apart due to unemployment, the death of a loved one, loneliness, poverty, or some other catastrophic event.

The Willard Suitcase Exhibit Online (via Notcot)