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by Oliver Sacks,Christopher Payne

eBook Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals (The MIT Press) download ISBN: 0262013495
Author: Oliver Sacks,Christopher Payne
Publisher: The MIT Press; 1 edition (September 4, 2009)
Language: English
Pages: 209
ePub: 1319 kb
Fb2: 1730 kb
Rating: 4.2
Other formats: docx azw lit lrf
Category: Different
Subcategory: Medicine and Health Sciences

The book presents us with a world of abandoned buildings, forgotten ashes, and derailed futures

The book presents us with a world of abandoned buildings, forgotten ashes, and derailed futures. It packs a powerful punch. Elyn R. Saks, author of The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness, and Professor, USC Law School (Endorsement). In the later half of the 19th century when mental asylums were coming into use, these grand structures were seen as a symbol of civic pride and stature much the same way a university or a state of the art hospital is considered.

Established in 1962, the MIT Press is one of the largest and most distinguished university presses in. .Architect and photographer Christopher Payne spent six years documenting the decay of state mental hospitals like these, visiting seventy institutions in thirty states.

Established in 1962, the MIT Press is one of the largest and most distinguished university presses in the world and a leading publisher of books and journals at the intersection of science, technology, art, social science, and design.

There are two informative essays by the photographer, Christopher Payne, and one by neurologist and author Oliver Sacks, but in many ways the images speak for themselves. Payne highlights the grand, imposing edifices of these decaying institutions, their grandeur making it possible to understand how a mental asylum was once considered a great coup for a community. But it’s impossible not to also see the Beautiful and eerie collection of photographs of (mostly) abandoned state mental hospitals.

Architect and photographer Christopher Payne spent six years documenting the decay of state mental hospitals .

Architect and photographer Christopher Payne spent six years documenting the decay of state mental hospitals like these, visiting seventy institutions in thirty states. Through his lens we see splendid, palatial exteriors (some designed by such prominent architects as H. H. Richardson and Samuel Sloan) and crumbling interiors-chairs stacked against walls with peeling paint in a grand hallway; brightly colored toothbrushes still hanging on a rack; stacks of suitcases, never packed for the trip home

cies of the state hospital era-peaking in the late 19th century. pitals, by Christopher Payne, Introduction by Oliver Sacks. This illuminating and evocative book features marvelous.

cies of the state hospital era-peaking in the late 19th century. through the 1950s and 1960s, when hospitals began to dis-. charge patients to the community in large numbers, down-. photographs and edifying discussions by Christopher Payne, an award-winning photographer trained as an architect who. specializes in documenting vanishing and forgotten archi

Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals; photographs by Christopher Payne, Essay by Oliver Sacks (MIT Press, £2. 5)

Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals; photographs by Christopher Payne, Essay by Oliver Sacks (MIT Press, £2. 5). Perhaps the most startling realisation brought about by Christopher Payne’s comprehensive photographic study of disused state asylums in the US is how psychiatry seems to have abandoned its own history. These palatial buildings, designed by leading architects of the day to play a role in the rehabilitation of their inhabitants, once had a very visible place in the discourse of mental health.

Christopher Payne, Oliver Sacks. Powerful photographs of the grand exteriors and crumbling interiors of America's abandoned state mental hospitals. For more than half the nation's history, vast mental hospitals were a prominent feature of the American landscape. From the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth, over 250 institutions for the insane were built throughout the United States; by 1948, they housed more than a half million patients.

His second book, Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals (MIT Press, 2009), which includes an essay by the renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks, was the result of a seven-year survey of America’s vast and largely shuttered state mental institutions. Payne’s new book, North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City (Fordham University Press, 2014), explores an uninhabited island of ruins in the East River

This book showcases Christopher Payne's evocative photographs of the ruins of state mental hospitals. Most of these sprawling compounds have been abandoned for years.

This book showcases Christopher Payne's evocative photographs of the ruins of state mental hospitals. The exteriors still resemble solid brick fortresses, but their interiors have been destroyed by mold, plant growth, vandalism and neglect. In his forward Oliver Sacks tries to rescue state mental hospitals from their horrifying "snake-pit" image. He waxes nostalgic for the days when indigent people with mental illness were sent to live, often permanently, in these state-run institutions.

America's abandoned state mental hospitals, the subject of this project by the photographer Christopher Payne, aren't so much a "closed world" as a lost one. These vast, decaying buildings were part of a grand experiment in health care that lasted for over a hundred years

America's abandoned state mental hospitals, the subject of this project by the photographer Christopher Payne, aren't so much a "closed world" as a lost one. These vast, decaying buildings were part of a grand experiment in health care that lasted for over a hundred years. They were built at an extraordinary pace, beginning in the mid-19th century. Reformers campaigned for construction of homes for the mentally ill, and US states - frothing with prosperity and civic pride - competed to build them bigger and better.

Powerful photographs of the grand exteriors and crumbling interiors of America's abandoned state mental hospitals.

For more than half the nation's history, vast mental hospitals were a prominent feature of the American landscape. From the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth, over 250 institutions for the insane were built throughout the United States; by 1948, they housed more than a half million patients. The blueprint for these hospitals was set by Pennsylvania hospital superintendant Thomas Story Kirkbride: a central administration building flanked symmetrically by pavilions and surrounded by lavish grounds with pastoral vistas. Kirkbride and others believed that well-designed buildings and grounds, a peaceful environment, a regimen of fresh air, and places for work, exercise, and cultural activities would heal mental illness. But in the second half of the twentieth century, after the introduction of psychotropic drugs and policy shifts toward community-based care, patient populations declined dramatically, leaving many of these beautiful, massive buildings―and the patients who lived in them―neglected and abandoned.

Architect and photographer Christopher Payne spent six years documenting the decay of state mental hospitals like these, visiting seventy institutions in thirty states. Through his lens we see splendid, palatial exteriors (some designed by such prominent architects as H. H. Richardson and Samuel Sloan) and crumbling interiors―chairs stacked against walls with peeling paint in a grand hallway; brightly colored toothbrushes still hanging on a rack; stacks of suitcases, never packed for the trip home. Accompanying Payne's striking and powerful photographs is an essay by Oliver Sacks (who described his own experience working at a state mental hospital in his book Awakenings). Sacks pays tribute to Payne's photographs and to the lives once lived in these places, “where one could be both mad and safe.”

Comments: (7)
Kieel
I did not think this mostly picture book was going to be as moving and captivating as it was for me. Asylum takes you thru a patient's life as they lived there and worked there and even died there. Fascinating but very sad at the same time.
Mr.mclav
This beautifully-presented 2009 collection of photographs also includes a brief introductory essay by neurologist Oliver Sacks ,The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales, etc.].

Sacks observes, "Sadly and ironically, soon after I arrived in the 1960s, work opportunties for patients virtually disappeared, under the guise of protecting their rights. It was considered that having patients work in the kitchen or laundry or garden, or in sheltered workshops, constituted 'exploitation.' This outlawing of work---based on legalistic notions of patients' rights and not on their real needs---deprived many patients of an important therapeutic mode, something that could give them incentives and identities of an economic and social sort. Work could 'normalize' and create community, could take patients out of their solipsistic inner worlds, and the effects of stopping it were demoralizing in the extreme. For many patients, who had previously enjoyed work and activity, there was now little left but sitting, zombielike, in front of the now-never-turned-off TV." (Pg. 4)

He adds, "By 1990 it was clear that the system had overreacted, that the wholesale closings of state hospitals had proceeded far too rapidly, without any adequate alternatives in place. It was not wholesale closure that the state hospitals needed, but fixing: dealing with the overcrowding, the understaffing, the negligences and brutalities. For the chemical approach, while necessary, was not enough. We forgot the benign aspects of asylums, or perhaps we felt we could no longer afford to pay for them: the spaciousness and sense of community, the place for work and play, and for the gradual learning of social and vocational skills---a safe haven that state hospitals were well equipped to provide." (Pg. 5)

Photographer Christopher Payne says, "After a peak in the mid-1950s, patient populations started to decline steadily with the introduction of psychotropic drugs, changes in commitment laws, and a shift in policy toward community-based care. In came the era of deinstitutionalization... the loss of patient labor... deprived hospitals of their precious workforce, which delivered the fatal blow to their economic viability. As the 1970s progressed, state hospitals wound down agricultural and manufacturing operations. Shops closed, services were contracted to the private sector, and farms were sold off to help pay for mandated services. Buildings already in disrepair were left to deteriorate further, too expensive to renovate and bring up to code. As patient numbers plummeted, the hospitals shut down, one by one... Today most people with mental illness are treated within their own communities. For those who are committed, their stays are usually numbered in days instead of months or years. Hospitalization is a last resort." (Pg. 12)

This book will fascinate anyone interested in the history (and current fate!) of public mental hospitals.
Phobism
At first glance this seems like a picture book of creepy old "nut houses", "looney bins", or whatever vernacular you choose. Sure you can take that and walk away and be correct in a sense. But if you choose to dig deeper you find much more.

In the later half of the 19th century when mental asylums were coming into use, these grand structures were seen as a symbol of civic pride and stature much the same way a university or a state of the art hospital is considered. These were looked at as humanely treating thoes who were before chained to walls or thrown into jails with no treatment whatsoever for the cause of thier disorder. While the best of intentions were behind thier construction, they fell far short of thier expectations.

This book photographs these haunting and delapitated places that have almost become likenesses of the very minds they were built to treat. Here the book is sectioned off very well between photographs of the outer facades, the regular wards, the work areas where the hospitals employed for a time the very patients as part of thier therapy, operating and treatment rooms, and the morgues.

Not something for every coffee take. But for the curious of the strange and unique, this book is some real heavy material. Highly recommend!
Inertedub
If you want a big creepy photo essay coffee table book that might actually be picked up and looked at this is it. You won't find this book on just any old coffee table. Nah you have to be just a bit on the cutting edge side to dare putting this on your coffee table. The writing is ok not great but ok. The writing does not give much insight to the buildings and areas shown just enough to be useful not much more. However the strength of this book is not the writing its the pictures. The pictures are right out of the movie snake pit or one flew over the coo coo's nest. You can almost hear the somber "Medication Time" music playing as hordes of lobotomized, electroshocked inmates amble up to a half door as some well meaning sadistic hachet chinned crone dispenses medication with all the love and caring of Nurse Rachett.

The other awesome thing about the pictures in this book is the sheer beauty of the archietecture. The buildings are magnificent and it is so sad that they are largely being destoryed or neglected. I drool over the abject beauty of some of these old hospitals especially the large ones. I wish I had tons of money because, I would love to convert some of these buildings into condos or apartments. They are in such idealic locations in many cases because; mental patients like prisoners were often kept out of sight and out of mind of the general "normal" populations.

You look at some of these hospitals and think of all the suffering patients endured as doctors tried to cure them of madness using the most barbaric methods imaginable. Ice water shock baths, insulin therapy, electro shock, lobotomy to name just a few tortures inflicted on the mentally disturbed all in hopes of shocking the poor devils back into sanity. These were hospitals in name only what they really were are warehouses for the involuntary containment sick minds. The pictures are so crisp clear and compelling you can almost smeel the faint aroma of urine, feces cleaning solution and alcohol that seems omnipresent in such institutions. You look at the peeling pain old radiators acient medical equipment and you can hear the plaintive yelps of people unwillingly being lead to "treatment!"

Some of the institutions have an Addams Family quality about them. Others look just like the human warehouses for insane minds they were designed to be. This book with its big empty decaying former mental institutions makes you think about the plight of the mentally ill today and that is not a bad thing. These institutions now dead and rotting away unseen makes you think about their former residents asking where are they now. Unfortunately those we once locked away as mental ill in hospitals shown in this book and many others we now know as "Homeless People!" Many but not all of the "Homeless People" rpaming our urban streets are the mentally ill who would have in earlier times filled the walls of these old hospitals to the bursting point.

Now the mental ill are FREE of their mental hospital prisons. Yes thanks to deinstiutionalization and psychiatric wonder drugs mental patients formerly locked away in huge mental hospital prisons are free to liter our urban landscape. Free to sit in dark dank alley ways muttering to themselves, off medication because; drug side effects often make then vulnerable to street predators. The community help proposed to help deinstitutionalized mental patients never materialized so sick minds roam the streets in search of food, drug, drink and home, hope lost full of despair. These huge mental hospitals were prisons of the mind with their horrific stories that set the stage for the story we witness today whenever we see a mental patient homeless ill fed, ill clothed and lost to the mean streets. This book of pictures of evils past is a direct connection to evils present if one bothers to think about the real meaning of all the empty hallways, bed chambers and medical bays. Oh yes with deinstiutionalization life for the mental patient changed profoundly as all these rotting hulks of former mental hospitals attest but upon witnessing the results of the homeless but mentally ill who are leigion on our streets was this change for the better. The real message of this book begs us to think about those who once called these places home are they better off for having been set FREE! That answer is yours to ponder after looking through this book!