AFTER THE BUBNY TRAIN STATION

One of the brownfields of Prague – the Bubny train station – which is surrounded by Letná and Holešovice quarters, is disappearing. In the next decade, it is supposed to be replaced by a new residential district for 25,000 people, 11,000 flats, 5,000 schoolkids...
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 The past deserves to be forgotten. There’s no need to weep for a disappearing place that is, anyway, partly surrounded by fences. No need to mourn the place where caravans park, roadblocks are built, and trees are being chopped down in the anticipation of a paintball playground. The past should be forgotten but before it happens, it might be beneficial to visit the Bubny train station and find out if “they” are still “worthy”. The Gate of Infinity by Aleš Veselý might be a decent start of your journey: recently, the Jewish transports moved again in Scandinavia. “Nazis” celebrated the Kristallnacht anniversary by glueing yellow stars all over northern Europe. The past had sadly flown into grey now.  

Are there still the endangered plants that were found by Přírodovědná společnost (The Natural Science Society) at the Bubny train station in 2009? There’s plenty of rabbits, though, but I haven’t seen any roe deer recently! 

There is no need to remember to compare. Just grab der Rucksack, snacks, tea thermos and go!

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According to Heidegger, we relate to space through surrounding objects and the possibilities of these objects. But these “things” are not just mere tools or visual markers, helping you to find a way in the chaos of your house, they are your extended thoughts – “objects tools” manifesting your intentions and wishes. A tree branch might be used as a staff(?) and these palm leaves as roofing

Now, you are in the empty space of things.

If you let someone enter, the space becomes more complex: intentions, wishes, feelings, causes, and consequences are mixed together for a moment, it is not possible to distinguish between you and the person you have let in. Is this your arm or is it mine? Every space, even the Bubny train station, might be occupied by bodies. Every place has a potential, which might be fulfilled or wasted: look at this book you’ve put aside or this half-drunk cup of coffee. You are not sure what fulfilment is – because you travel in time. Will we shake hands in the name of success or will we forget? (What is a place from the perspective of eternity?) The past and eternity belong to someone else, we are here – more or less now.

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The Bubny train station (far from its best years now) deserves to be forgotten, as much as the names of the developers who tore down the waterworks there. Cobblestones on docking platforms under layers of concrete, crawling out from holes like snakes on a rainy day, should be forgotten as well. 

Don’t let yourself be nostalgic. Open your heart in the name of upcoming events and try to figure out if there should be bureaucrats in the new blocks or if the connector between Letná and Holešovice should be a place of life. Maybe? Maybe a park? A lake? Allotment gardens, community centre or a few ponds with Chinese ducks? If you want to find out – you have to be open enough to debate – and a debate consists of a dialogue between your body, a place, and others. Hang out over there! Try to find some endangered plants or a mutual language, which does not belong to Vergangenheit but to Zukunft. Enjoy the space that you have visited one more time (together) and forgot. Trees and plants are awaiting changes.

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Text & Photography / Tomáš Roček & Muriel with Ondřej Dolejší & Cross Attic

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