Life in Communist Czechoslovakia choked me, oppressed me. I wanted out. At any cost, out. In 1985 I finally got permission to emigrate. I won over the system. I was free. I was in West Berlin. And - I felt lost.
"The photographs in Ziellos (Berlin, 1985, 1986-90, Tokyo, 1978, 1986, 1998, and Prague) are records of, or rather participation in, existential interims, taken out of ordinary contexts, a web of relationships and everyday activities, which at other times verify our identities and give us a feeling of direction. It is, she said, "as if I were living absolutely without a plan – ziellos, aimlessly." (Michal Nanoru)
My mum planned her own death. She wanted to die at the right time, as she used to say, so that no one would have to look after her. In her diary for 2002, she wrote that her main task for the year was “To die!” Fortunately, she did not manage to do this, and continued to live satisfied. On 17th January 2010, I found Mum lying in the corridor of her apartment building. She had suffered a massive stroke and half her body remained paralyzed. Her mental ability changed; she had difficulty communicating. My sister and I decided we would look after Mum at home, even though in this condition she required constant care, even though it changed both our lives fundamentally, even though it was sometimes enough to drive us mad. She remained in this condition for a total of 974 days. My days with Mum were going along and always the same. One day I bought an iPhone and had a sudden inspiration to use it to take ordinary, everyday pictures of her. She liked the idea. Taking the photos was interesting for both of us and it was a means of communication. More or less regularly, I photographed Mum. In the photographs I was searching our relationship with each other, changes in expressions, fear or joy in Mum’s eyes. And I discovered slow physical changes, natural aging, but also sudden reversal, when she got worse. The photographed situations apparently were always the same: the limited space of her bedroom, the occasional necessary stay in hospital, the rare summer stay in the countryside. I travelled with my mother on her journey. During this journey I too was getting older. Mum died on 17th September 2012. I took the last photograph of her on the eve of her death.
"During the early nineteen-eighties, Prague was a rather run down and sceptical city, though it was still an active frontier of the sleepy Brezhnev communist period”.
Mobilelife II. iPhone photographic diary
At age 19 I haphazardly left the safe world of school for the night shift at the factory. I found myself drawn in, liking it, fraternizing with my coworkers and realizing the bleak, dirty, polluted and dishonest face of real socialism.
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