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Paula Förstner

Two main aspects linking Czechia and USA, inspired my creative project at Depo2015 in Pilsen: On one hand the place, an old bus depot, where I worked on the idea of transport and change, on the coming and going, on hopes and destinies and mostly on those who have long since traversed this space to look for a better chances, in the US where they arrived in great numbers in the nineteenth century to a place with the same name as their hometown: Pilsen in Chicago. In particular I explored the migration of women to the New World and how their lives changed as they started working in factories with new tools enduring hardships but at the same time building up a new existence.

On the other hand I happen to be in Pilsen at the time of the huge “Liberation festival” that commemorates the freedom of the country by the Americans 1945, that was the reason why I linked both countries. The influence of war memories was still vivid, it made me realise that the suffering, pain and death behind the so peaceful looking landscape and woods. I noticed how fights in war and later in revolutions influenced lives of so many people, in particular women taking the worst part and enduring all the violent and bloody times but not allowed to play an active role.

So I joined together both cultures, the Czech and the American, both sharing historical fates of emigration and war, looking forward but not forgetting the past.