Why metadata matters. Zygmund Bauman on Surveillance

Thursday, December 17, 2015 Gabriella Ivacs

We closed down our first thematic public program on Surveillance only a few days ago. The event series was opened with the exhibition Watching You, Watching Me in early October 2015. It was curated by our OSF NY colleague, namely Yukiko Yamagata to raise a series of recent issues in our post-panoptical societies through the gaze of the artist-photographer.

Ryszard Siwiec: Surveillance and Erasure in 1968 Poland

Thursday, November 19, 2015 Emily Hanlon

November 4th, at the third event of the Secret Police Film Festival, organized by my Blinken Open Society Archives colleague, Zsuzsa Zádori, we watched 4 incredibly interesting films about the political and social situation in Poland in the late 1960s to mid-1970s. The first three were primarily about surveillance techniques used by the Polish secret police. In the first film, footage of the U.S.

Archivists and records managers as carriers of change- excerpts from ICA 2015 Annual Conference

Saturday, November 14, 2015 Dzhevid Mahmud

Archiving and records management (ARM) professionals are often considered to preserve the past rather than shape the future. The 3rd International Council on Archives (ICA) named, Archives: Evidence, Security and Civil Rights , revealed that ARM professionals are equally responsible for designing current policies and future change as they are for preserving the memories.

Center for Openness and Dialogue, Tirana

Saturday, October 31, 2015 Branko Kovacevic

Public space, where culture, politics and art can happen, all together.

Az OSA Filmkönyvtára

Tuesday, October 13, 2015 Anikó Kövecsi

3800 film az ország legnagyobb, ingyen kutatható, kortárs dokumentumfilm gyűjteményében.

Ismét közel 300 filmmel bővült az az OSA Filmkönyvtára. Filmklasszikusok, propaganda és oktatófilm ritkaságok valamint a Verzió Nemzetközi Emberi Jogi Dokumentumfilm Fesztivál programjának (www.verzio.org) filmjei is szinte mind megtekinthetők az OSA Filmkönyvtárában. Évente több száz a Verzióra nevezett dokumentumfilm bővíti a gyűjteményt, mely ezáltal Magyarország legnagyobb, folyamatosan bővülő, szabadon kutatható, kortárs kollekciója.

The Tender Powers of Culture

Thursday, August 13, 2015 Ioana Macrea-Toma

(from left to right) Margaret Mead and Ruth BenedictCultural anthropologist Ruth Benedict was assigned to do a study of the Japanese character in June 1944 which happened to be the same moment of the US-led offensive against Japan.  Despite the fact that at that time Japan was considered to be the most alien enemy the United States had ever fought in an all-out struggle, a military or economic analysis would not have been enough. At stake was the understanding of Japanese habits of thought and emotions .

'The Source' and its Other: Hearing Past 'Reversed Jamming' in Information Items

Thursday, July 16, 2015 Pawel Koscielny

I have been asked to write about my experience of reading Information Items in the RFE Collection’s Polish Unit in OSA, and I would like to discuss the biggest difficulty I encountered in the process; a feature of the documents which can playfully be called reversed jamming or distorted polyphony.  Without being long-winded about my particular research aims, I was trying to learn something about students in 1970s Poland from the items produced specifically about students. Why was that so hard? The Items are documents produced from casual conversations between an RFE analyst and ‘the source.’ The source is often enigmatic; sometimes it is an unidentified respondent who claims to know the attitudes of youth, but more often it is a student from the University of Warsaw on an exchange in a Western city where RFE’s field offices were located. Direct letters from students to the editors are few and far between in the series. The typical Item begins with the formula nasz rozmowca twierdzi (the source tells us…) followed by a statement about their specific experience as a student in Poland, or their impressions from the West, their political views, and so on. Often, this precedes a variant of the formula ogolnie sie mowi w Polsce (generally, in Poland it is said/thought that…). At this point, the reader encounters polyphony. It becomes less clear who is speaking: the interviewer or the subject. In most cases, neither is presumably qualified enough in sociology to make a sweeping statement about youth opinions across the country. Is the analyst speaking through or for the source? Is the source speaking to the analyst? Often, the generalized statements about public opinion are backed by a second iteration of ‘nasz rozmowca twierdzi,’ in which case it appears that the source speaks with the analyst, without knowing it. The syntax of the finished Item leaves the reader exasperated as to whether s/he is reading the testimony of the respondent, or the stereotypes of the analyst, or the latter loosely supported by the former, or a fusion of the two.

„Do it today – Tomorrow it may be illegal!” - PSZR elveszett rövidfilmje az illegális nyomtatás folyamatáról

Wednesday, July 08, 2015 Gábor Danyi

„Amíg van harisnya, ablakkeret és szabad gondolat, a független sajtót elnémítani nem lehet” – ez a szlogen állt az Uraim! című rövidfilm utolsó képkockáján, amelyet Pálinkás Szűts Róbert a Balázs Béla Stúdióban készített 1988-ban, s amely a cenzúrázatlan (ún. szamizdat) anyagok előállításának egyik jellegzetes módját mutatta be. A szamizdatok kultúrája, amely a szocialista országokban a hivatalos állami könyv- és folyóirat-kiadás monopóliumával szemben jött létre, Magyarországon a lengyel ellenzék segítségével erősödött meg az 1980-as években. Nem véletlenül – Lengyelországban ugyanis a földalatti könyv- és folyóirat-kiadás rendkívüli méreteket öltött, amelyet jól mutat azoknak az anyagoknak a sokasága, amelyeket a Szabad Európa Rádió gyűjtött, s amelyek az OSA gyűjteményében – részben digitális formában – ma is megtalálhatók.

A rövidfilm zárlataként szereplő szlogen a lengyel ellenzéktől importált ún. „ramka” technikára vonatkozott, amely – ablakkeretből és harisnyából könnyen megépíthető szerkezet lévén – demokratikus, mindenki számára elérhető nyomtatási formát jelentett a szocialista országokban. Pálinkás Szűts rövidfilmje is azt a tapasztalatot közvetítette, amire a lengyel ellenzékkel való kapcsolat kialakításában döntő szerepet játszó Haraszti Miklós felhívta a figyelmet: „Vannak időszakok, amikor a rendőrség ráveti magát a burjánzó szamizdatra. De a ramkát nem lehet kiirtani. A ramka maga a sajtószabadság, habár kétségtelen, hogy a kiadónak nyomdafestéktől foltos az ujja, amikor fityiszt mutat a rendszernek.”

The Value of Alfred A. Reisch Fonds

Friday, June 19, 2015 Clare Svetla Lewin

I personally think the most valuable in Alfred A. Reisch fonds is his extensive research on the CIA’s secretly funded, book-distribution program in which he took part while working for the Publications and Special Project Division (PSPD) from 1956 to 1974. From 2001 to 2013, Alfred Reisch worked on a monograph, Hot Books in the Cold War, which was published in 2013, the same year as his death, by the Central European University Press.  The central aim of the book is to tell in a scholarly manner the story of the covert book distribution program that ran from July 1956 until the end of September 1991. This program, which was a very little known Cold War operation, complemented the Western Broadcasts and provided Western literature to Eastern Europe and countries of the former Soviet Union during the Cold War.

American Refugee Committee (ARC) – the Balkan Story now in OSA

Thursday, June 18, 2015 Robert Parnica

From 2000-2002, the American Refugee Committee ran comprehensive support projects to assist Bosniak families from Srebrenica in returning to their homes, which had been inhabited by Bosnian Serbs since 1995: the Housing Support for Families of Srebrenica living in IlijasMunicipality, and the Facilitation of Minority Return to Sarajevo Canton Project.

The ARC reconstructed seven homes in Srebrenica, into which three families returned. The four families who did not return in 2002 were: (1) Hidajet Fazlic, who purchased an apartment in Ilijas after inclusion in the ARC’s reconstruction program; (2) Senad Mostic, who chose to receive construction materials from the ARC but was financially unable to complete reconstruction work; (3) Akif Beslija, who plan to return after the birth of their baby in spring 2003; and (4) Mjerja Gljiva, who was evicted from the transitional unit in Breza, and is waiting for to transport and secure shelter for her cows near her reconstructed home.