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Lebanese photographer Chaghig Arzoumanian's first photo book "On Fools and Lands," sheds light on the history of Lebanon's first mental health hospital, commonly known as Asfourieh. Combining fresh and archival photography, maps, charts, interviews and data from the hospital's annual reports, the book looks back over the hospital's 75 years of operation, documenting the institution before it fades from memory. "On Fools and Lands" includes snippets from the 78 yearly reports – written by the director, matron, medical director and the administrator – summarizing the challenges and advances of the medical and political situation of the hospital.The hospital's methods were still much less gruesome than those practiced in most European asylums in the late 1800s.Most of Arzoumanian's photography is devoted to documenting the landscape surrounding the hospital's last two remaining ruins.It's easy to read Arzoumanian's landscape photos as her effort to depict the way Asfourieh's patients would have seen things – blurred by sedatives, dimmed by paranoia.
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