An absurd idea to create wonder

When conceptual artist Anna Schuleit was invited to create a work of art for the closing of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center in 2003, she was almost immediately struck with a remarkable and truly creative idea.

Anna and a team of 80 volunteers spent a matter of weeks gathering, sorting, and caring for nearly 28,000 potted flowers to fill the then cold and abandoned mental center. The hospital was opened to the public for four days, where old workers, patients, and friends and family all shuffled through the suddenly vibrant and soft hallways.

The result, called Bloom can be seen in these spectacular photos.

“I was hoping to create a work that would bring aspects of play into the seriousness of the institution, an element of the absurd,” Anna states. “It would have been infinitely easier to work with just a few hundred flowers, or a few thousand even, but I wanted to reach my goal of twenty-eight thousand, because it had occurred to me at the beginning of the project that that was the minimum number that was missing here. ”

What Anna did was take a missing element from her topic (that of color and warm, welcome feelings) and turn it into a project which spurred many mixed emotions. She didn’t stop with just a couple hundred or even thousand flowers either, she went all out with 28,000 flowers, all potted and in need of care.

In your own work and life, what are the elements missing that should be there? What scale would you have to work with to create your own Bloom-like project? What absurd ideas can bring wonder and beauty into your own work?

Be sure to view more of the inspirational photos, and read the exclusive interview with Anna, over on Colossal.

(Hat tip to Mind Hacks.)