As a boy growing up in the 1970s and 80s, I lived behind the Cold War Iron Curtain. Specifically, East Berlin. I would daydream of all the far away and mysterious places that people of the Eastern bloc were not permitted to visit. My longing for discovery was expressed clearly through the long hours I spent with my postcard, coin and record collections from all corners of the globe. I also filled my time reading books about places that I hoped to one day be able to see with my own eyes.

This body of work is an attempt to reconstruct the visuals of my childhood dreams. To remember what I imagined to be out there in the great big world when I was first bitten by (a politically suppressed) wanderlust.

The photographs in this series depict foreign, exotic-looking places, but they are intentionally missing factual definitions, captions etc. They are meant to represent a boy’s imagination of places he has never been to. 

The dream sequences vary widely in tonality and subject—due to the erratic nature of boyhood dreams—but the format of triptychs (on instant film) holds them together as a unified body of work. While each triptych stands by itself as a dream sequence, some of them have two "siblings," with which they can be combined, forming "ninetychs" that nod towards even more complex dreams. 

Certainly my curiosity for distant places has its roots in my childhood years. Today, I live far away from the Berlin that I once called home. For more than 15 years, I have lived and worked in South East Asia. 

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, I present these photographs. The repeated (box-like) presentation recalls the structure of the wall itself—but their content speaks of the dreams, fantasies and eternal hopes of childhood; the hopes for something different, something far away, something better.

—Claude Peschel-Dutombe