FLORIAN DE VISSER
Most empty cardboard boxes that are thrown away still contain labels from the global journey they have undertaken before arriving at their destination. Where do the huge amounts of souvenirs you can find all over Prague come from? What do the words written on many shop windows like ‘handmade’, ‘original’ and ‘traditional’ actually mean? I went to several shops and asked for left-over cardboard. Unfortunately all the ‘tickets’ (stickers) on the flattened boxes were missing, or were carefully removed in front of me. The true origin of the souvenirs remains a mystery, but many people I’ve met believe they are produced in China along with most of our products.
A majority of Matryoshka doll shops seem to be owned by Russians; the famous doll is not an original Czech souvenir. The first Matryoshka design was made in Russia in 1890 and was inspired by the Japanese Daruma doll. How local are the souvenirs that we see in all the shop windows? Read more about how Kafka and Mozart have also been recycled by the tourist industry in the article ‘Prague – Setting the scene’ by Caspar van Gemund.
Through ‘Continuo: Praha!’ I have sent the souvenirs on a journey through the waste paper chain. In what form and in what place will they reappear in the future?