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A World Gone Mad





 

A World Gone Mad

Abandoned buildings give off powerful first impressions, feelings that grip tightly and stick with you for the duration of your stay, and often heavily influencing your perspective toward them as a whole. Be it a powerful sadness, a soothing tranquility, or an imposing darkness, these first interactions with a location are important moments, and ones that we, ourselves, try to pay mind to when conducting our work. In that regard, and many others, this place was different. When individual chambers herein were viewed as stand-alone forms they were both eerie and darkly humorous to behold, however when we stood back and tried to piece together the whole which was this beautiful old inn, we were left with mostly a feeling of confusion. It was as if hearing the punchline to a joke nobody ever told.

Our visit took place in the very early spring, and though snow still remained on the ground, it was contained solely to where the shadows fell. The air was cool, but warm at the same time, and you could smell the forest on the surrounding mountains awakening from a long sleep. In a river valley at the center of all this stood the inn, and you could tell from just a glance that it has been here for ages. It was at home upon a small bluff above a peaceful river, and crumbling facade and peeling paint aside, it looks more or less as it did when first constructed in the early 1830's. That was outside though. Inside, as we discovered, was a different world entirely.

It was obvious from our first steps past the threshold that the final years of this inn must have been unusual ones. The bottom floor was largely devoid of personal effects, with mostly tables and building fixtures remaining. The main feature here was a large room with a decomposing skylight at the center. Our imitate thought was that the lobby had been converted to a strange and rather unsightly dining hall of some kind. We pondered its use as we headed up the stairs to the second floor. As it would turn out, the higher up the stairwell we climbed, the further down the rabbit hole we fell.

Reaching the second floor landing, we pressed upon the first door which greeted us there. It creaked open, revealing a singe half moon table in an otherwise empty room. Propped against it's battered legs was an old sign that read “No Entrance”. Though it was silently setting the tone for the day we paid it little mind at the time, for what truly caught our eyes was the bedroom that lay at the far end of the hall. The door to the room was partially ajar, and out from the opening was pouring a brilliant pink glow, a color further accentuated by the heavy darkness of the corridor leading to it. We approached and opened the door. Beyond we found a room quite literally covered in pink items. It was mostly clothing and fabric, decaying and mildewed, nailed to the floors, walls and ceiling. A surreal sight that quickly turned disturbing, as we notice that the ceiling items were composed primarily of infant and toddler clothing, and the fashion in which they were nailed to the ceiling, with various limbs limply dangling in space, conjured mental imagery of tiny corpses being used as interior d├ęcor. We exited and proceeded down a skinny side-hall into yet more darkness.

On the left we came upon another room of unknown use. Though down a very tight side hallway, the room itself was much larger than those we had seen thus far. In the center of the room was a massive pile of debris, so high and cluttered that we could not safely walk over top of it and were forced to shimmy our way around the edges. The walls had strange grey-scale paintings of furniture and doors scrawled upon them. We exited carefully and made our way further into the interior of the old inn.

Floor after floor and chamber after chamber we came upon miniature vistas of unusual nature and unexplained origin. All the items seems out-of-place, and so far as we could tell, none of it served an obvious purpose. It wasn't an easy thing to get used to, seeing these dadaesque displays where bedrooms once were. The intermingling of bizarre sights and their being housed within a decaying old inn made the experience all the more unsettling. What had began for us as a trip to visit and document a historic mountain-side inn had become a mystery that we felt an increasing need to unravel, if only for our own peace of mind.

We finally caught our break when we were packing up to leave at the end of the day. The sun was beginning to set, and with it came a deep chill as the winter's dying grasp creeped in for the night. We were quite worn out from a long day filming, and were eager to get somewhere warm, preferably with coffee. As we made our way back through the bottom floor we passed a small door we did not notice before. Pushing it open we came upon an old administrative office, and though it was in utter discord, with foot-deep paperwork carpeting the floors, it laid out for us the history of the old inn.

As we were to discover, this building had not been an inn for decades, rather it had been transformed into a commune for artists. The paperwork answered many of the questions we had regarding the use of the building, but the real epiphany occurred when, under the filthy piles of yellowed paperwork and rotted posters, we found several dust-covered boxes. We cleaned one off and carried it over to a small desk at the corner of the room. Inside were hundreds of old color slides, and the same for each of the other boxes that were with it. We held them up to the the light of a small window and once again the old building was alive. There were people here, music, creation. We discovered that, as we had begun to assume - The rooms above were in fact exhibit spaces, their meanings long vanished with their creators. The large room on the lower level we initially thought to be a dining hall was actually a gallery at one time. We became lost in the slides, in the memories of the building, and did not realize how much time had past until the window light grew too dim to see by. Then we felt the cold, and in an instant we were snapped back to the present. We stood alone, in the dark, tired hotel, and slowly we collected ourselves and made our way to the door. The world seemed imposingly silent as we stepped out into the night. Looking back over our shoulders we could see the old inn fade away into the dark.


*Please note that any slide scans shown herein were digitized on-location, and were not taken from their rightful place in the building.



























Slide scan of the room as it were.


Not surprisingly, Styrofoam cups hold up extremely well