Art, Photography


In 2003, with the closure of one of the buildings comprising the Massachusetts Mental Health Center (MMHC) pending, after nine decades of service to patients, health authorities were faced with the tricky question of preserving the memory of what was, by then, a rather worn shell. The artist Anna Schuleit, then working as an artist-in-residence at another psychiatric unit in the state, was commissioned to create a lasting image of the place and Bloom was what she came up with: 28,000 potted plants, spread throughout the many forgotten corridors and paint-worn offices – even the facility swimming pool – as an symbol of regeneration, rebirth and hope. Over four days, the building would be open to the public for the first, and last, time, which meant the sea of colour and the quantity of flowers needed to verge on absurd proportions, as Anna explains in her interview with This is Colossal (full transcript and more photos here):

“If it had been a project merely for photography, we wouldn’t have needed so many. But it was really a project for the passing visitor, someone coming in, in real time, from the street and finding this sea of color inside the building, and throughout. A multitude of greetings on every floor.”

I think it’s stunning, and so deeply affecting and moving. Quite beside the fact that This Is Colossal deserves full credit for posting about this originally, the simplicity and loveliness (and scale) of the idea, and in particular the work of the MMHC, nullified any sort of tangential introduction of the sort I’m apt to write. I just love, that for four brief days, this existed.

{More pictures and the full interview with Anna here}


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