In 2003, American artist Anna Schuleit made a floral art installation in a mental health centre to honour patients, staff, and the building itself upon its closure. Entitled BLOOM, the installation was made up of 28,000 flowers and 5,600 square feet of sod, which were placed throughout four floors of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center (MMHC). Schuleit also used the building’s public announcement system to quietly pipe the sounds of the MMHC recorded during its final weeks.
In an interview with Colossal, Schuleit explained her process and how the installation was inspired by the fact that whilst flowers are common for hospital patients, their absence is noticeable in mental health institutions: “As a visiting artist I had observed an astonishing absence of flowers in psychiatric settings. Here, patients receive few, if any, flowers during their stay. Bloom was created to address this absence, in the spirit of offering and transition.”
The installation ran for four days before the building closed. All the flowers and sod used in the installation were “donated to psychiatric hospitals, general hospitals, halfway houses and homeless shelters throughout New England.”
The flowers may be gone, but the project is preserved online though the official project website, and interviews with the artist.
BLOOM Project [via Bloom]
Anna Schuleit Interview [via Colossal]