I began working on Parallel Memories while I was in Russia to develop a public art commission in a city called Perm, by the Ural Mountains. There I met Mikhail Nagaitsev, a Russian man about my age, who told me of his fond memories from early childhood in Czechoslovakia. His father was in the military as part of the occupying forces, and was stationed with his family at the Russian base in the town of Milovice, just outside of Prague.
Meeting him made me think of my own background, which is indirectly linked to the circumstances surrounding the Soviet Union’s invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. My mother immigrated from Czechoslovakia to Denmark that year but unlike many other immigrants, she was allowed back for visits. Therefore I, like Mikhail, spent an important part of my childhood in Czechoslovakia. Some of our memories overlap, even though they extend from two subject positions that almost couldn’t be further apart.
In January 2013 I traveled in what is now the Czech Republic in search of the places Mikhail described, mainly in Milovice, where I had never been before. Some places I found, other places, from my own history, I revisited. The journey and the project are a way to work through the landscape of an inherited trauma, in part by visiting the sites of the Other.