Jon Crispin's Notebook

Telegraph Article

Posted in Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 12/02/2013

The Lucy Davies article about the suitcases is now online.  Here is the link to the story.  And here is the link to the slideshow.  It is getting quite a bit of response. / Things are moving along at the Exploratorium.  It is all about working with a committee, so it feels a bit different, but when done, it is going to be very interesting. / The 14 suitcases arrived safely last week in these lovely blue shipping containers  and are being prepped for display.   It is all quite exciting.

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  1. Hank. said, on 12/02/2013 at 7:59 pm

    Funny how we really are two countries separated by a common language…”Lunatic Asylum” doesn’t really hit the ears well, does it? Reminds me of the common “Spastics Society” collection jars in the UK, which always made me do a double-take. That said, it was always funny to see the Brits horrified reaction to Americans constantly referring to their “fanny packs”. Zoiks!

    • joncrispin said, on 12/02/2013 at 9:05 pm

      Hi Hank, Lunatic Asylum actually rings true to me. I like the moon connection with madness. Spastics Society is also interesting to me personally. Our son has Cerebral Palsy and whenever I hear someone use the term “spaz” it sets me off a bit. It was even an answer in the New York Times crossword a while back and it really pissed me off (please, don’t get me started on Will Shortz). But referring to folks with CP as “spastics” was common in the 50’s. And the fanny pack is funny as people in Australia refer to them as “bum bags” which really evokes some funny visuals.

  2. Barbara Swinney said, on 15/02/2013 at 11:44 pm

    Thanks for the information! Will check the site..and thank you for sharing your work while photographing the suitcases. I have really been interested in not only the items in the suitcases, but what they say about the owners. Thanks again. B. Swinney

  3. wackoworldmusic said, on 05/03/2013 at 11:03 am

    Hi Jon, Can you tell me when your show at the Exploratorium is going to be? Their Calendar says nothing about it. We live in SF and have been waiting for the exhibit to come!

    • joncrispin said, on 05/03/2013 at 11:11 am

      wacko, Thanks for your note. The Exploratorium is opening it’s new space on The Embarcadero on 17 April. My part of it is the exhibit “The Changing Face of What is Normal”. They have recreated the attic where the cases were rediscovered and it looks amazing. The show will be up for a year. What I am being told is that huge crowds are expected for the first few days as people will be coming out mostly to see the new space. You might want to wait for a few weeks to stop by since it might be very crowded. I will be out in late April and then back in mid May. I might try to organize a “meet up” in a bar somewhere. If you have any ideas, please let me know. Best, and thanks for your interest. jon

  4. Jeff Janofsky said, on 06/03/2013 at 7:51 am

    Jon: I am a psychiatrist and have been following your wonderful project for some time. Really fascinating. The American Psychiatric Association will be having its annual meeting in San Francisco in May 2013. Can you confirm your exhibit will be open at the Exploratorium at that time (their web site does not mention it). If so, I will ask the APA to publicize the exhibit so members can come visit. Thanks

    • joncrispin said, on 06/03/2013 at 8:26 am

      Jeff, I am so pleased that you are interested in the project. We have known that the APA was meeting in SF and have encouraged the Exploratorium to make a connection with the group. I am not sure where it stands. My photos are part of an exhibit called “The Changing Face of What is Normal” and will contain 14 of the actual cases as well as my photographs, and poems by Karen Miller, MD. Another part of “Normal” is a Utica Crib, and there is a section on the DSM. The Exploratorium will open its new space on The Embarcadero on 17 April. We were hoping for a special showing for APA members but again, I am not sure if this is happening. Best, and thanks again for your interest. Jon

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