In 2008, I edited a 10 minute length video using pictures and super8 movies of the Manicomi de la Santa Creu (Holy Cross Mental Asylum) in Barcelona. The asylum opened in 1892 and closed in 1986. It was my first experience with video storytelling and documentary filmmaking. To date, it has a successful career on Youtube with more than 15 000 views. Two years later and the discovery of new photographic collections, allowed me to expand upon the first experiment and to create a more complex cinematography, resulting in Catalan and Spanish 20’ versions posted on Vimeo. In 2014 I have digitalized in HD the original film in Super8 and add some pictures recently found.
This video is based on a collection of 350 photographs (1906-2014),, two reels of Super8 footage (1973-74), a specific documentary (1936), some documentary clips about Barcelona , and recent video shots (2010-2013).
The (cinemato) graphy depicts the everyday life of the inmates and workers in the Asylum from 1886 under the strict rules of moral psychiatric treatment during the institution’s lifespan. The building was closed in 1986 after less than two decades (1970-1986) of a large reform including more doctors, nurses, occupational therapists in the staff, changing the everyday life of the inmates and opening the doors of the asylum This last phase of changes marked the beginning of the deinstitutionalization of mental asylums in Catalonia.
The video is directly related to my book "Stultifera Navis. La locura, el poder y la ciudad" (Lleida, Milenio 2006). I conceived of the video as an opportunity to push the limits of the written monograph, using cinematography to represent the moral world of the asylum.