I was born in the Soviet Union in 1982. When I was three years old, my family moved to the small military town called Luostari, which is situated beyond the polar circle in an area called Pechenga. My father served in the army there. I remember how he used to show me the Norwegian border from our window. My very first conscious memories are from Pechenga. Those memories are only supported by very few photo slides taken by my father. It’s only much later, as an adult, that I’ve found out that Pechenga is actually Petsamo – “the eastern arm” lost by Finland after the Continuation War.    

We all have a childhood and sometimes we dream about going back there. History is an area where memory meets politics. Recalling Petsamo, I’m changing my viewpoint from an occupant to an immigrant, the scale from the collective to the personal, the intention from militarism to nostalgia. Let's go back to Petsamo!

Cover photo by my father Sergei Rotts. 1986

Pavel Rotts, On the Other Hand, 2018, kinetic installation, karusel slide projector, slides from authors family archive, inkjet print on film, Arduino controller, motion sensor