Curiosities: Library of Dust by David Maisel

Curiosities: Library of Dust by David Maisel

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These photographs are a part of David Maisel’s book titled Library of Dust. It documents canisters of patient remains at Orgeon State Hospital. The stigma of mental illness left many of these individuals forgotten and abandoned, even after death. The Oregon State Insane Asylum, it’s name upon opening in 1883, amassed 3,500 canisters of unclaimed remains from 1913 until 1971—a result of displaced burial grounds. Unfortunately, the remains were shuffled around and stored poorly. Exposed to moisture their contents leaked and their surfaces decayed. Maisel documented the transformed canisters, along with other found objects. A beautiful series no doubt, filled with bright mineral tones and textures, but one filled with deep sadness.

(Referenced A haunting memorial in ‘Library of Dust’)

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