About the Book
German spa facilities are sites at which one can apparently be cured of chronic illnesses. Whether they date from the 19th century, the post-war period, or today, these places are fast becoming leisure-time oases. In a new series, Lucinda Devlin has photographed the deserted interiors of these bathhouses, framing clinically sterile rooms meant for massages, baths, examinations, and relaxation. These empty zones are silent testimonials to a healing industry that is thoughtfully tailored to people, even while its equipment subjugates them completely. Tellingly, they recall the rooms of Devlin's earlier series: the operating theaters, mortuaries, and autopsy rooms in Corporal Arenas
and the U.S. execution chambers in The Omega Suites
. With her coolly remote photographs, Devlin presents the relationships between people and institutions, and then shows how certain facilities depersonalize those relationships. Water Rites
conveys an insightful view into the--typically German?--mentality and source of our institutionalized humanity.
Essay by Michael Mackenzie.
Clothbound, 9.75 x 11 in./112 pgs / 48 color.