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Archives of the Living and the Dead

linnaeus_filmscrDocumentary film series presented in conjunction with the exhibition in Galeria Centralis.
Every Thursday from February 14 through March 13, 2008.

Non-fiction works in the series present plant collections, arboreta, herbaria and seed banks, museums and libraries, as well as mineral and rock collections, famous book and museum collections and collectors. The films in the series have been categorized around five topics:

  • 14 February: Carl Linné and environmental protection
  • 21 February: The archives of plants - from botanic gardens to gene banks (introduced by Zoltán Barina, Hungarian Natural History Museum)
  • 28 February: Storing information - from libraries to the internet (introduced by Balázs Bodó, Technical University)
  • 6 March: Mineral and rock collections in Hungary (Gábor Papp, Hungarian Natural History Museum)
  • 13 March: Chamber of Curiosities: from Wunderkammer to the ethno-zoo (László Kontler, Central European University)

All screenings are introduced by experts in the field and followed by discussions. The film series offers an insight into the birth of collections, the history behind them, the work of famous collectors and theorists, as well as the theoretical and practical aspects of building collections.
Everyone interested in the world of plants, animals, minerals and rocks is welcome. The films will be interesting and useful for those interested in systems of arrangements and taxonomies, as well as for those who wish to find out more about storing and finding information on the web.

Groups of secondary-school students are welcome to attend.

For further information, please contact: Nóra Ábrahám, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
No entrance fee.

February 14, 2008 at 6pm

Theme:
Carl Linné and Environmental Protection
Guest speaker and discussion moderator: Ada Ámon, Energy Club

Film:
Expedition Linné
(2007, 72 minutes)
Documentary, Directed by: Mattias Klum & Folke Rydén
Language: Swedish, English subtitles, Hungarian translation
Expedition Linnaeus is a documentary film to commemorate the tercentenary of the birth of the world-renowned natural scientist, Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus (Carl von Linné). The film is a journey of discovery to seven continents, into space, down into the depths of the oceans and into the future. At the center are crucial questions: How should we behave and act today in order to survive tomorrow? And how can science and research contribute to a better world?
Inspired by Linnaeus' curiosity and the thrill of discovery, the expedition meets some of the world's leading researchers and experts, who try to give answers to these questions. The main characters are the expedition's three young would-be researchers , all in their twenties but with widely different backgrounds. The leader of the exhibition is the world -famous photographer Mattias Klum. Like Linnaeus, he is almost obsessed by a desire to document nature and how everything is connected. The film is produced by the international award-winning Swedish journalist and filmmaker Folke Rydén.

February 21, 2008 at 6pm

Theme:
Archives of Plants – From Botanical Gardens to Gene Banks
Guest speaker and discussion moderator: Zoltán Barina, Botanist, Natural History Museum, Botanical Collection

Films:
Hungarian Botanical Gardens - The Szarvas , Kamon and Jeli Botanical Gardens
(1986, 15 minutes)
Directed by Aladár Rozsnyai
A colorful, retro-style educational film about the past and present of the 70-acre botanical garden—vivid shots of the Bald Cypress, Phellogen and Juniper set to background music.

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
(2004, 30 + 30 minutes)
Documentary
Language: English, Hungarian translation
Kew Gardens, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, is much more than a garden. It is a highly respected center for pioneering science, research, conservation and horticultural practice.
This film takes us on a month-by-month journey through the garden, following the work of a committed team of experts, providing a unique insight into the gardens, glasshouses, laboratories, museums and research that give Kew its international reputation for excellence.
Each episode introduces spectacular events, such as the unrivaled Orchid Festival in February, the famous Crocus carpet in March and the stunning colors of autumn, as well as many of the oldest and rarest plants in the world.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault
1. Filmed by Mari Trefre, The Global Crop Diversity Trust, 2007, 1 minute
This film, shot on 25 October 2007, is the first in the world that offers a glimpse of the internal structure of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (The Spitsbergen Seed Bank). The vault is intended to provide a permanent and secure storage facility for the seeds of all the food crops in the world, in case of a global catastrophe.

2. Made by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), 5 minutes
The second film excerpt shows the "perfect storing" of the seeds to be placed in the "global seed bunker". The crop of 70 180 rice varieties, from 70 different countries, was transported to the International Spitsbergen Seed Bank on 21 January 2008.

February 28, 2008 at 6pm

Theme:
Information Storage – From the Library to the Internet
From the universal decimal classification system to web2 - from library catalogues to the internet.
Guest speaker and discussion moderator: Balázs Bodó, economist, Department of Sociology and Communication of BME, MOKK

Films:
The life of Paul Otlet
(1998, 23 minutes)
Documentary directed by Ijsbarnd van Veelen, VPRO
Languages: English and French, Hungarian translation
A documentary about Paul Otlet, often considered the father of information management, narrated by his biographer, W. Boyd Rayward. In the late 1800s and early 1900s Otlet pioneered the field of what is now known as information science, but he called "documentation". A hundred years before the development of the Internet, Otlet used terms like web of knowledge, link, and knowledge network to describe his vision of a central repository for all human knowledge.

The library of the nation
(1985, 28 minutes)
Educational film by MTV/Mafilm/Mokép, directed by István Zöldi
Language: Hungarian, English translation
A film about the National Széchényi Library from its foundation until the mid '80s, following the reconstruction of the Buda Castle and the re-design of its whole interior, up to its official opening. Following its founder’s intentions, the cataloguing system of the Library of the Nation is based on that used in the Collegium Theresianum in Vienna, the Hof Bibliothek, using branches of science as well as classes.

Information R/evolution
(2007, 5 minutes)
Educational video directed by Michael Wesch
Language: English, Hungarian translation
This video, closely linked to David Weinberger's book Everything Is Miscellaneous explores the changes in the way we find, store, create, critique, and share information. This video was made as a conversation starter, and works especially well when brainstorming with people about the near future and the skills needed in order to harness, evaluate and create information effectively.

March 6, 2008 at 6pm

Theme:
Collections of Minerals and Rocks in Hungary
The collections of minerals and rocks in Hungary, their origins and destiny, presented by museologist and science historian Gábor Papp.
Guest speaker and discussion moderator: Gábor Papp, museologist, Hungarian Natural History Museum, Collection of Minerals and Rocks

Film:
Minerals and People - Collection of Minerals, Eötvös Lóránd University
(2003, 37 minutes)
Documentary directed by Ernő Nagy
Language: Hungarian, English translation
Dr. Tamás Weiszburg, Director of the Collection of Minerals, tells the story of the collection from the foundation of academic Department of Natural History in 1774, through various phases of growth up to 2003.
The value of the collection is enhanced by its significant role in scientific research, besides its actual growth and scientific arrangement.
In the second half of the film former and current employees recall legendary professors who once worked for the Department and historical events that significantly influenced the history of the Collection of Minerals.

March 13, 2008 at 6pm

Theme:
The Collection of Curiosities – From the Wunderkammer to the Ethno Zoo
From the days before museum collections even existed up to the "heroic age" of museums: 19 century museum collections, their methodology and practice, with a close-up of the American Natural History Museum.
Guest speaker and discussion moderator: László Kontler, historian, Central European University, History Department

Films:
Dr Cotti's chamber of Curiosities and the Taxonomy Pre-entrega
(2007, 2X3 minutes)
Collecting all kinds of things of interest, rarities, curiosities, and archiving them according to a particular system - two video excerpts from the web are traces of this special passion.

The Prize of the Pole
(2006, 78 minutes)
Documentary directed by Staffan Julén, Swiss
Language: English, Hungarian translation
On a hot summer’s day in 1897, Robert E. Peary, the most famed explorer of his day, docked in Brooklyn with a cargo so outrageous it would soon become one of the most heart-rending stories of the cost of American expansionism. What Peary had brought for his financiers at the American Museum of Natural History was a group of six living Inuit people from Northern Greenland. Among them was a six-year-old child, Minik. The tabloid press loved the idea, and during the months that followed thousands of New Yorkers flocked to the museum to catch a glimpse of the "savages". Unfortunately, the Inuit were unfamiliar with the city's exotic germs and most of them soon perished. The last to remain was Minik. Thus began a strange, 20-year saga as Minik's life became inextricably intertwined with Peary's, and Inuit culture became intermingled with the American dream. In this moving and engrossing documentary, we follow Peary's great-grandson, descended from a secret marriage between Peary and an Inuit woman, as he retraces Minik's wrenching journey.

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