How do Ordinary Material Objects, which are carried along by migrants, become significant conveyors of memories and past senses?

A critical reflection of the migrant’s mental space – ‘Takes me back…’ – drives the viewer into a psychological journey. The transition through time, place and identity gradually transforms the value of the possession unfolding past senses and experiences. This shift, which the migrant undertakes, gradually transforms the manifestation of the object they’ve carried along. Each part of the book analyses and portrays such transitions with increasing distance and time.

Portrayed through the impressions & expressions of their keepsakes, the journey is accompanied by whispers from the migrant’s subconscious mind (in the form of words and verses). With the prevailing shift in communities around the globe, these hidden emotions provide an effective juxtaposition to the current debate around the subject.

It isn’t simple, isn’t as smooth. In flashes, I see the essence of the past time. Layer by layer it reveals; seeps into my conscious mind. From material to memory; to perception and its shadow, I start reliving what’s bygone.

The main imagery of the book came from a technique developed from one of the experiments during my primary visual research. I used reproduction and distortion to test the effect of displacement on an object. Interesting Images were generated using a flatbed scanner. The object was simultaneously made to move horizontally and vertically. The horizontal movement was indicative of the literal dislocation, whereas the vertical distance suggested a movement away from form & function. However, the vertical movement of the object could also be looked at from the point of view of memory, where – with the passage of distance and time – memory comes becomes stronger, while the form of the object vanishes.

The journey is interrupted at intervals by the background noise which accompanies the migrant at every stage. Hidden beneath the noise is again the internal feeling of the migrant (using gate folds here). The visuals have been achieved using the background of the scanned objects in movement. It also imparts the sense of movement to the book as the grains in the background show a transitory effect. Along with providing exciting visual results, it was an effective way of showing various layers within, while moving from one spot to another. The journey is accompanied by words, at regular intervals, expressing the mental state of the migrant – seemingly like a whisper from the migrant to the viewer, who is going through his/ her journey.

The translucent nature of the paper & various transitions and folds incorporated into the book, enables the viewer to engage with it as they slowly reveal a migrant’s concealed emotions. The viewer can partially apprehend what lies ahead. As the journey progresses, the ideas of movement, distance and memory become more pronounced.


The book is wrapped and contained amidst headlines and conjecture that often surround such sensitive issues. Most often emotions are allowed to camouflage in the larger scheme of concerns around the world, where ‘migrating individuals’ form only a small part.

This mug comes from Ukraine and it was given to me by my daughter. It reminds me of my country which I had to leave to find work and a home in England. ~Anna Sobolevska