Blinken OSA tried to prepare for the notable events, anniversaries and programs of 2017. Then something unforeseen, unexpected, and inexplicable happened: without warning, the Hungarian government pushed a new higher education law through Parliament in just a few days in order to make the work of Central European University impossible in its hometown, Budapest. The immediate reaction was a huge, spontaneous demonstration in Budapest with tens of thousands of demonstrators, a world-wide reaction of solidarity from hundreds of the best universities of the world, petitions were signed by dozens and dozens of Nobel laureates. The University decided not to give in, and its fight became the global symbol of the defense of academic freedom against populist, demagogic state intervention. The Archives, as part of the University, works and lives in a deliberately maintained state of existential uncertainty, but it is determined to continue its important, high-quality and unorthodox activities in Budapest, whatever new tricks the government may try to invent to make our work impossible.
The focal points of the year 2016 were the 60th anniversary of the 1956 revolution and, obviously, the continuing refugee crisis. The year, however, started in Mexico, far away from these concerns. In cooperation with the International Center of Photography in New York, OSA brought the Mexican Suitcase to Budapest. The legendary Mexican Suitcase containing Robert Capa’s Spanish Civil War negatives, considered lost since 1939, was exhibited in the Galeria Centralis. The Suitcase is in fact three small boxes containing nearly 4,500 negatives, not only by Capa but also by his fellow photojournalists Chim (David Seymour) and Gerda Taro. These negatives span the course of the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), through Chim’s in-depth coverage from 1936 and early 1937, Taro’s intrepid documentation until her death in battle in July 1937, and Capa’s incisive reportage until the last months of the conflict. Following the end of the war and amid the chaos of the Germans entry into Paris in 1940, the negatives were passed from hand to hand for safekeeping, and ultimately ended up in Mexico City, where they resurfaced in 2007. As part of the exhibition events, in collaboration with the Spanish Embassy in Budapest and the Cervantes Institute, the Archives presented a film series, “Eye on Spain” with rarely seen films, including home movies on the Spanish Civil War.
2015 was marked with significant changes in the life of OSA, as the institution was renamed following the pledge of generous donation by Vera and Donald Blinken. Successful exhibitions and public programs were organized along with a variety of hosted events, including Blinken OSA’s most significant spin-off program, Verzio Film Festival , attracting a total of more than 15000 people.
New acquisitions were added to the already rich collections of the Archives, making them available for researchers and the wider public. Our colleagues participated in workshops and conferences, published in prestigious archival publications, taught courses and provided professional archival service to researchers on and off site.
We invite you to browse our report in order to gain an in depth view of our diverse activities: