In 2007 I dragged my family to Sweden    We were all tired of our country that (it was said) was afraid of existing
writes Maria in the beginning paragraph of her essay   about her move from Portugal to Sweden

But the journey portrayed here happens four years later when I accompany her in a farewell journey between Malmö and Stockholm before she moved with her family this time from Sweden to the UK

A travelogue   a photo-text in search of its ontology                                   a book that essays photographs and writing into the double-vision of the migrants’ eyes         (annunciated by Bhabha) hers and mine

A twofold vision so as to twice the number of doubles produced on paper folds causing creases to appear temporarily in the folders of memory

Where does the journey start?

With portraits of the dead   photo-traces of transnational migration  found in Malmö’s Urban Cemetery  across the road from her home in Söder Innerstad housing programme for                    the newly arrived migrants

Suitcases hand-luggage passport control check points inter-continental flights

trajectories of dispersal      the splitting up of a people leaving in different directions   to meet later on in foreign soil

  for another expedition

Nothing to undo- self-contradictory error message on the screen  caused by accidentally activating the ‘shake to undo’ feature in the iPad  something is required to do: to tap the ‘cancel’ button to close it                                             Nothing to undo: the paradoxical nature of their collaboration that left much to images and words to collide                                    Nothing – not anything; no single thing: no amount; zero                                          To – a sense of movement, how we travel to, have gone to and relate to one another             Undo – untie, loosen, cancel, reverse

An ambiguity between agency and passivity  acceptance of contingency and chance      The absence of necessity the fact of being so without having to be so    Both in life and in the essay   There’s nothing one can undo no ‘one single home’ to return to                but scattered locations  multiple homes /pages to go to

A trip but not the mythical American road trip closer to the one intended by Berenice Abbott and Elizabeth McCausland   when in 1935 they hit the road in their practice run for the photobook  America. The 48 States They hoped to produce

Not a picture book  not a treatise or a burst of splendid rhetoric with illustrations not a series of beautifully reproduced plates with tabloid captions and tricks of montage but a book with words and photographs marching along beside each other complimenting each other reinforcing each other… 

It could be the great democratic book the great book for the masses of people conditioned by reading newspapers and tabloids…

In their daily drifts into Ribersborg beach and Vestra Hamnen (western harbour), former industrial area converted into the City of Tomorrow, they passed by the Rotating Torso tower and the Facelift Centre obvious symbols of the new prosthetic architecture of artificially enhanced corporeality

They never asked themselves: Why are we here? Will we ever go back?

Two women on the road  self-consciously documenting their situated dis-embodied geographies

paula roush: excerpt from photo-text index, Nothing to Undo 2015