The Amnesia Pavilions
The Amnesia Pavilions, Nicholas Muellner’s stunning new book of textual and visual autobiography, takes as its central narrative his return trip to a small city in Eastern Siberia after a seventeen-year absence. Traveling back to Ulan-Ude in the fall of 2009, Muellner set out to find a close friend whose trail had run cold. Guided (and haunted) by the extensive photographic and written material produced on his earlier journeys, as well as reflective chronicling of his futile retracing, this book considers the impossibility of tracking down and understanding one’s former self. Along the way, this autobiographical safari also serves as a framework for viewing the massive cultural and socio-economic change that has transformed provincial Russia. The Amnesia Pavilions argues for the incommensurability of the past and the present, and examines photography’s personal, vernacular and historical role in both bridging and broadening the temporal chasm of understanding.