David Maisel - Library of Dust (2008)
“In 1913, the Oregon State Insane Asylum began to cremate the remains of unclaimed patients and their ashes were stored in copper canisters.
After decades in storage the canisters have undergone chemical reactions resulting in explosions of vivid blue-green corrosion. Maisel was granted access to the room in which the canisters were stored to document them for his book.”
“Among my concerns with Library of Dust are the crises of representation that derive from attempts to index or archive the evidence of trauma; the uncanny ability of objects to portray such trauma; and the revelatory possibilities inherent in images of such traumatic disturbances.
While there are certainly physical and chemical explanations for the ways these canisters have transformed over time, the canisters also encourage us to consider what happens to our own bodies when we die, and to the souls that occupy them.”