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Astrid Yurdsever


San Servolo, the Venetian island from which we did not come out alive.

I discovered this small island in the Venice lagoon during a photo workshop at the Venezia International Photo Festival.

From the 18th to the 20th century, it was synonymous with horror. Alternately convent, grain depositories and military hospital, in 1798 it became the central asylum of Veneto, Dalmatia and Tyrol for all the insane, marginalized, vagabonds and those considered deviant.

In 1978 a law was passed ordering the closure of psychiatric hospitals throughout Italy. A multicultural center since 1990, the old pharmacy (unfortunately closed for renovations) and the museum of the psychiatric hospital still bear witness to abuse and treatment from another era.
My photographic aim has not been to show the details of the experiences and ancestral methods practiced over the centuries.

During my visit, I captured a certain atmosphere, felt compassion for all these patients locked up, rightly or wrongly, and who despite themselves were used for the experiments of an unscrupulous medical and very religious body.

“La folie recluse” sad title for a sad museum plunged into darkness which accentuates the heavy wandering in front of the windows loaded with stories, medicinal formulas, chains and straightjackets.

Exit a little disturbed from more than 200 years of this inhuman world, what a joy to surprise the pretty silhouette of our assistant Benedetta, who seemed to hasten to escape this crazy world!

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