‘Two Thousand Words’ is a photobook that analyzes the active resistance, but eminently peaceful, that was carried out in Czechoslovakia during the Prague Spring.
Inside the pages of this book you can read the text of the original manifesto, ‘Two Thousand Words to Workers, Farmers, Officials, Scientists, Artists, and Everyone’, by the writer Ludvík Vaculík, published in various newspapers on June 27, 1968. It is a reformist statement, within the open-minded atmosphere that Czechoslovakia experienced since the beginning of 1968, with the coming to power of Alexander Dubček. But in the face of this spirit of change, Moscow reacted and acted firmly, sending Soviet troops to invade the country and restore order.
The photobook is completely hand-bound and has a folding technique that allows it to be extended to six times its size, creating a sculptural piece that makes it possible to fully see the scenes of the occupation of Prague and the inside of the pages with the back of the snapshots. Between the pages of the book is almost hidden the Vaculík’s manifesto. This photobook presents this scene as if it had been frozen in time. The images are taken at street level by an anonymous amateur in August 1968 during the invasion of Soviet tanks that were deployed through the streets of Prague. It can be seen how citizens fearlessly stand in front of the Russian army, observe them, to the amazement of the soldiers who did not know the purpose of their mission before entering the city.
The originals of these images have suffered the passage of time and poor conservation. It can be observed how the degradation of the photographs increases until become abstract forms where the front and back of the images are confused and any figurative reference is lost. This progressive degradation alludes to the samizdat technique, by carbon copy, used in Czechoslovakia to reproduce banned books during the Soviet occupation.