Beautifully Morbid Cans filled with Remains of Insane Asylum Patients
Call this what you will, morbid, bizarre, beautiful, creepy, or ‘insert adjective here’… Photographer David Maisel has photographed what was left of the deteriorating portions of copper canisters of unclaimed human remains from the Oregon State Insane Asylum.
Yup, cans filled with people whose cremated bodies were left behind.
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 and the 1970’s; their bodies have remained unclaimed by their families.
The oxidation of the canisters has created something unexpectedly colorful in this otherwise grim scene. To Maisel, they speak to the transformative quality of death, asking us to meditate on the matter within the containers.