12 Photo-montages of Krakow by Neil Verow, using original photographs by Neil Verow, Henryk Hermanowicz, and Krakow City Archive photographs. Text by Lorens Holm and Neil Verow.
The comparison of photographic images from the past and present isn't unusual, and usually serves to illustrate how much a location has changed physically.
Krakow though, the ancient capital of Poland, is a picture postcard city whose historic fabric appears almost untouched by the 20th Century, yet the experiences of its people over that period range from world-changing to catastrophic.
The chance discovery of a photographic essay by Henryk Hermanowicz, Kraków - Cztery Pory Roku (CRACOW - the four seasons) published in 1958 by Wydawnictwo Literackie led me to seek out and re-photograph the places recorded fifty years ago, and discover how consistently so little had changed.
It was when the two images are superimposed that the paradox begins to disturb.
'Now let us... suppose that Rome is not a human habitation but a psychical entity with a similarly long and copious past - an entity, that is to say, in which nothing that has once come into existence will have passed away and all the earlier phases of development continue to exist alongside the latest one?. In the place occupied by the Palazzo Caffarelli would once more stand - without the Palazzo having to be removed - the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus; and this not only in its latest shape, as the Romans of the Empire saw it, but also in its earliest one, when it still showed Etruscan forms and was ornamented with terra-cotta antefixes?. '
Freud uses an imagined Rome to describe the unconscious (in mental life nothing which has once been formed can perish - ...everything is somehow preserved and... can once more be brought to light); we might use the unconscious with its non-sequential spatial and temporal logic, in which things pile up upon each other without loss, to describe the city. The city as it is held in our collective unconscious is a repository in which nothing is lost, all is conserved; it awaits only the vicissitudes of life and experience to be excavated.