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reformation: context
Abandoned by the NHS, the decaying carcass of the Victorian building represented an institutional system that, by the late 20th C, was finally seen to have failed. With a trend towards regenerating 'heritage' sites, the project questioned how a place of exclusion could be transformed into an exclusive development whereby the building’s previous identity was replaced by new associations forged in words. The marketing aimed to obscure the building’s past function and recast it as a former stately home.

Archival research revealed the dominant narratives of professionals - medical superintendents whose writings communicate a perspective based on the ascendancy of medical, moral and scientific viewpoints. The patients’ own voices were absent - instead they were 'written about' in limited data such as admissions papers from 1845 and a 1959 ward book (lent by C Burwood).
 wall-wounds (found)
 wall-wounds (fabricated)
 wall-wounds (projections) 
Aerial shot of Exminster Asylum

Former Devon County Pauper Lunatic Asylum c.1990
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sarah bennett © 2016