To Prague with Love is an attempt to hold on to a fleeting childhood memory. It is the quest of an adult, who lived in the Soviet Union as a child, to distinguish lies from the truth regarding issues suppressed by the dictatorial regime ruling the country. How much did the lies affect her thought processes? Did she believe them? Victoria, who was situated in Uzbekistan in the late 80s, while it was still a part of the Soviet Union, had a pen pal from Prague, Czechoslovakia, which was also under Communist rule. The letters went back and forth for over a year. Out of fear, Victoria praised living in the Soviet Union in her letters. She couldn’t reveal the reality behind the deteriorating political climate with which she and her family were struggling.
Victoria is the artist’s, Ira Eduardovna, sister. This desire to put a face on a memory took place when Eduardovna was an artist-in-residence in Prague. She placed an ad in a local newspaper looking for her sister’s old pen pal. Victoria does not possess the letters anymore as they have been lost due to immigration. All she has left is her memory of the letters. This touching search to restore a memory that lacks material proof is something that immigrants, and especially refugees experience. Refugees usually do not have the funds and opportunity to bring their possessions with them as they flee their country. In the case of the Eduardovna family, the Soviet Union did not allow them to bring the majority of their personal belongings with them when they left. People in this situation leave behind, not only their country but also the objects that lay the foundation of their memories.
While this work is about the life of a child under the oppressive Soviet regime, it also highlights some issues in the current political climate in the U.S. We seem to be living in a political era that resembles a hyperreal reality TV show where we are continuously dreading and guessing what’s to come. Politicians are also utilizing the truth to their benefit, leaving us confused and uncertain.
Eduardovna’s film is presented as part of the Workspace exhibition series, featuring the work of LES Studio Program artist-in-residents.