Saturday, August 23, 2008

library of dust

In keeping with the themes of biology and decay, I stumbled on a post (on BLDG BLOG) about a book, Library of Dust. The book is a collection of photographs of unclaimed, cremated human remains from a psychiatric hospital — compacted and tinned humans, stored like corn and beans on a supermarket shelf!

Unlike the bones of the catacombs beneath Paris or the ossuary of Sedlec, the human form of the remains has been completely obliterated. Whilst the bones of Paris and Sedlec have been jumbled, these human remains have been kept separate from one another. Each can of ashes leaves its unique, visible mark on the world through the patterns of corrosion on its surface. The ex-patients may have been tinned and stacked, but they regain a unique identity in a most unlikely way. Library of Dust is a strange, visually arresting and thought provoking record of people past.

Image: From Library of Dust by David Maisel, published by Chronicle Books

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