PROJECT OVERVIEW (cont'd)

Oh, Penny! Pictures, LLC. presents PILLARS OF MADNESS, an eight-part documentary film series about the evolution of psychiatry in America. In 1843, the American nation made its first attempt, of many, to answer the question of how to properly care for the mentally ill. Our story begins in Central New York in the Mohawk Valley, the site of the New York State Lunatic Asylum at Utica. The construction of the hospital marks a convergence of medicine, philosophy, politics, science and engineering . The asylum, dubbed “Old Main” would be known to the medical profession and to historians as the “model institution”. “Old Main” was widely known as an achievement of public health infrastructure, a centerpiece of the New York economy, an institution at the forefront of cutting edge treatments for the mentally ill and the birthplace of the western world’s foremost authoritative publication on psychiatric disorders, THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY (formerly THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF INSANITY). Today, the shuttered facility and sprawling campus, with its imposing picturesque gothic architecture, serve as a relic of a bygone era and a venue of cultural curiosity. While the asylum’s public image in its earlier years was testament of a great and compassionate society, the place holds a darker history, one where experimental treatments and limited understanding of the human brain left many in its care to descend into the depths of human suffering. From 1843 to 1978, “Old Main” provides a broad angle of view to study and observe the evolution of psychiatric medicine, both in context of the American experience and that of the world at-large. By examining “Old Main’s” one-hundred thirty-five years of operation we can see tried and failed theories; distinct shifts in conventional wisdom; adopted and abandoned methods; and the success and failure of various treatment models. The Utica State Hospital, as it came to be known in the twentieth century, was conceptualized in a philosophical reform movement called “moral treatment”, an offshoot of Aristotelian philosophy that asserts that it is the duty of a society to provide the care and ethical treatment for those who are unable to care for themselves. This would later be adopted as a Christian virtue, explained in the biblical teaching of “my brother’s keeper”. This concept would later become the founding principle of secular liberalism, which brings us to Philippe Pinel, the eighteenth-century French doctor and philosopher who began a movement to establish “moral treatment” as a standard model for care of the mentally ill in Europe. Pinel’s reforms establish the foundation for public health and social welfare as institutions of western society. Later, through the work of Dorothea Lynde Dix and Dr, Amariah Brigham, Pinel’s philosophies were imported to America, and applied to the construction of what would later be known as the “model institution. Through the lens of “Old Main” we will explore the history and cultural attitudes concerning Psychiatry throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and we will discuss the reciprocal influences shared between America and Europe. With the help of accredited historians, we will explore the various methods of treatments and study the facilities built to provide those treatments. With the help of accomplished researchers and practicing doctors and imaging technicians, we will discuss the current state of mental health services and the future of psychiatry into the twenty-first century. Francisco Escobar Creator; Executive Producer; Co-Director, PILLARS OF MADNESS

The Confinement of Mister Trull - Francisco Escobar,

Ink & Gouache on Watercolour Paper

 

The "Old Main" Fire of 1852 - Francisco Escobar,

Ink & Gouache on Watercolour Paper

 

POWERED BY OH, PENNY! PICTURES, LLC. © OPP.LLC 2016 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

PARTNER SITES

Oh, Penny! Pictures, LLC. presents PILLARS OF MADNESS, an eight-part documentary film series about the evolution of psychiatry in America. In 1843, the American nation made its first attempt, of many, to answer the question of how to properly care for the mentally ill. Our story begins in Central New York in the Mohawk Valley, the site of the New York State Lunatic Asylum at Utica. The construction of the hospital marks a convergence of medicine, philosophy, politics, science and engineering . The asylum, dubbed “Old Main” would be known to the medical profession and to historians as the “model institution”. “Old Main” was widely known as an achievement of public health infrastructure, a centerpiece of the New York economy, an institution at the forefront of cutting edge treatments for the mentally ill and the birthplace of the western world’s foremost authoritative publication on psychiatric disorders, THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY (formerly THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF INSANITY). Today, the shuttered facility and sprawling campus, with its imposing picturesque gothic architecture, serve as a relic of a bygone era and a venue of cultural curiosity. While the asylum’s public image in its earlier years was testament of a great and compassionate society, the place holds a darker history, one where experimental treatments and limited understanding of the human brain left many in its care to descend into the depths of human suffering. From 1843 to 1978, “Old Main” provides a broad angle of view to study and observe the evolution of psychiatric medicine, both in context of the American experience and that of the world at-large. By examining “Old Main’s” one-hundred thirty-five years of operation we can see tried and failed theories; distinct shifts in conventional wisdom; adopted and abandoned methods; and the success and failure of various treatment models. The Utica State Hospital, as it came to be known in the twentieth century, was conceptualized in a philosophical reform movement called “moral treatment”, an offshoot of Aristotelian philosophy that asserts that it is the duty of a society to provide the care and ethical treatment for those who are unable to care for themselves. This would later be adopted as a Christian virtue, explained in the biblical teaching of “my brother’s keeper”. This concept would later become the founding principle of secular liberalism, which brings us to Philippe Pinel, the eighteenth-century French doctor and philosopher who began a movement to establish “moral treatment” as a standard model for care of the mentally ill in Europe. Pinel’s reforms establish the foundation for public health and social welfare as institutions of western society. Later, through the work of Dorothea Lynde Dix and Dr, Amariah Brigham, Pinel’s philosophies were imported to America, and applied to the construction of what would later be known as the “model institution. Through the lens of “Old Main” we will explore the history and cultural attitudes concerning Psychiatry throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and we will discuss the reciprocal influences shared between America and Europe. With the help of accredited historians, we will explore the various methods of treatments and study the facilities built to provide those treatments. With the help of accomplished researchers and practicing doctors and imaging technicians, we will discuss the current state of mental health services and the future of psychiatry into the twenty-first century. Francisco Escobar Creator; Executive Producer; Co-Director, PILLARS OF MADNESS