Mole Antonielliana (Ger., Eng.) [roughly: The very big thing ANTONELLI (Ger., Eng.) built] is in itself a phantastic setting (a bit foggy in Turino when I looked the last time). It houses the lauded national film museum (Ger. article), one of several in Italy.
Originally built as synagogue Mole was for a long time one of the largest brick buildings in the world, only later it was reinforced with concrete and steel. I found it because the comments by Looby and Hipster Yaya here were about films and where one can find them. I think in the first part not about theatrical motion pictures, but documentaries, news reels – source materials for any kind of topic. I turned to Wikipedia hoping there would be a list of international institutions, Filmarchive, but sadly there are only national archives and museums listed (Ger.). “Filmarchiv” in Català brings better results, as does “Cinematheque” (Eng.). And finally we have an international list of film archives (Eng.) – and there is an organisation too. Additionally there is this list.
I already mentioned the BFI and the British Pathè; there is the Spanish film archive, the French one (mit der Aussenstelle Toulouse);  the US have a handful of these institutions, I think the Moma has a film archive too. British Pathè brings us to the Wochenschau (Ger., Eng., list), the Newsreel archive and its youtube channel. There seems to be no coherent collection of the Deutsche Wochenschau or Welt im Bild. I also miss French Pathè and all the others … yes I did not really search for it, but … is it possible that some million kilometers of film are still not digitized?
Finally, while I blab about old films, here is an example: French Pathè, 1908, Moscow in snow – what else? – I hope you enjoy it.




The “father of humanism” did understand a bit about self-promotion. So Francesco PETRARCA (Ger., Eng.) worked his connections, notably via Dionigi di BORGO SAN SEPOLCRO (Eng.), an old friend who once gifted him with a valuable  copy of Augustinus’ confessiones that he had read on the Mount Ventoux (Eng., text), his connections I say to the king of Naples Robert d’Anjou (Ger., Eng.). He wanted to become a crowned poet, a poeta laureatus. And since the popes had left Rome, this crumbling village belonged to the domain of Robert il saggio. Francesco surely intended to become the official poet at the court of Naples; he even wrote  on a long and winding epos dedicated to Robert, Africa, but all this came to an end when the king died in January 1343. PETRARCA indeed was crowned in Rome in April 1341 (Ger.). The king couldn’t come by, so the senator count Orso dell’ANGUILLARA (It.) put the laurel on the poets head – he just jumped in because the king’s representative Giovanni BARILLI had fallen in the hand of robbers, travelling was always a bit of an adventure.
Because nobody had a real idea about how such a ceremony should proceed PETRARCA designed it the way he wanted it to be. He was allowed to keep the crimson cloak the king had sent over, maybe he simply didn’t need it anymore. Rumour has it that PETRARCA was very tall, 184 cm I read somewhere, what would have made him a giant in his time, so the coat may have been a bit tight-fitting around the shoulders.
This laureatio was based on weak foundations, after all it should honour the poetic œvre of the man, and Francesco’s was not that large at the time. He was busily writing letters, a clever diplomat, and one of the first European intellectuals who described (and mystified) his own life, but he was not good at writing an epos. As ALIGHERI (Ger., Eng.) had done. As the venerated antiqui had done – think Virgilius (Ger., Eng., works); as stands at the beginning of it all, an opus magnum of the calibre of a Homeros (Ger., Eng., Bav.): He never had read the Greek originals, he not even possessed a text, the old one would laugh on the daddy of humanism. This had to change.
In 1348 PETRARCA met the byzantine ambassador Nicola SIGER in Verona, who was on his way to Avignon. In the course of the conversation Francesco mentioned his Greek teacher BARLAAM (Ger., Eng.), who had been the teacher of BOCCACCIO (Ger., Eng.) in Naples too, and whom SIGER surely knew. PETRARCA wanted to possess a codex with the original text of Iliad and Odyssey, and either in the end of 1353 or the beginning of 1354 he received the promised (and valuable) gift. Still, he couldn’t read it.
Accidentally on a visit to Padova in 1358 he was introduced to a Greek-speaking man from Calabria, who just had returned from Byzanz, a disciple of BARLAAM called Leonzio PILATO (Ger., Eng.), who knew his Homer pretty well. One of the early Greeks who became important for the so-called renaissance (Eng.). PETRARCA grabbed the chance and charged PILATO with a test translation. In spring 1359 PETRARCA met BOCCACCIO in Milano and both of them decided that PILATO should translate both works, Iliad (Ger., Eng., Bav.) and Odyssey (Ger., Eng., Bav., listen in German, listen in English). BOCCACCIO managed to install PILATO as professor for Greek in Firenze, the first professorship of this kind in Western Europe, and put him to work. PETRARCA seems to have chipped in some money too. After three years the work was completed, and in 1363 PILATO travelled from Venice to Constantinople  – to deal in manuscripts. Three years later, 1366, Francesco learns to know that Leonzio was struck by lightning and killed while on the ship on his voyage back to Venice; in this year he finally received the copy of the translation BOCCACCIO had initiated, his beloved Homer.
PETRARCA retreated himself into the loneliness of Arquà (Ger., Eng.), near Padova, in Petraracadia, a last play with names. Here he found his last Arcadia, busy working, writing and translating, until the ark made of stone, the petrarca, would become his final resting place. The monumental stone sarcophagus stands on four pillars in front of the church of Arquà to this day.
When the box was opened the last time it was found that the skull belongs to a woman. The resurrection men (Ger., Eng.) did it all get wrong.

Greatful Ruins

What a day. When I jumped on the train this morning the sky was bright and the sun cared for the first shadows of the day. Entering Mittelfranken it became grey and after Uffenheim [sic] I saw one of this new wind turbines vanishing from the middle upwards: The rotor blades were only visible when they passed the tower in the lower half. It was cool in Ansbach, and I also had some cool telephon conversation with a bank person, it even turned icy in the course of the conversation, yes they are of limited generosity, but there’s nothing to worry about. I think even taking a deep breath inside a bank can be surcharged. Suckers.
The bus driver threw me out at the roundabout as usual, I went into my chamber and changed clothes, collected my stuff together and moved over to my bureau. Just in time to meet a man, who brought  some boxes with books inside the rooms (yes, rooms; it’s all right what they did, no violation of terrain or such nonsense), and they made my day.
Among the inevitable books/brochures/rotten library things from the late 19th century, the bound magazine tomes, the “grey” literature, all a bit dusty or sun bleached or damaged by water, there are some marvels, from the 18th, 17th and even 16th century. I grabbed the tomes I could identify at first glance, I think eight, and dragged them into my cave. Over the day I had to do some other things, like eating a bit, going to the superette, and tonight I finally found time to look a bit closer. It’s by far no real research by now, but two of them are really promising. If I can trust what I threw together, one tome is only the fourth in Germany provable via the meta-catalogues, and two others are at least not here in Bavaria, and only in small numbers in Germany. Their condition is lamentable. But nothing a good bookbinder could not repair. We’ll see.
Tomorrow I have to photograph a lot of books I recently catalogued, so I may snap a few pictures of these greatful ruins.

Dust Is Dangerous

To machines and their parts like bearings, to engines – that’s why there are air filters (at the end of WWII when they had to abandon vehicles and destroy them, it was a common practice to take away the air filters and shovel in sand with the engine running full throttle, don’t know why this pops up, the connection may be the filter), to humans, and of course to paper. Dust comes in a large variety, from corny remains when holes are gouged to fluffy mouse-like things you find in your living room.
When one works in a dusty environment and has to stir it up it sooner or later comes through the clothes, one can feel it on the skin, not only on the arms and legs but on the thorax and belly too. When I worked as a student on the ramp of a trucking business grey dust covered anything and after a week it was in the skin, in the hair, in the handkerchief, I coughed it up for some weeks afterwards.
This time the dust is not so corny, it’s thin, brownish, flour like, a thin flour, like in a mill. It sits on the books, on the shelves, on anything. I organized a vacuum cleaner that is continuously variable – I can’t use one of these industrial strength suck-it-all machines when carefully removing layers of dust from the Schnitt of a book – at this moment I am not even sure whether Schnitt is the right word, but I think so, I’m talking about the three sides of a book that are not bound together. And I’m too tired to look it up now, but in a blabbing mood.
The library is in a state of neglect, they carried it around from place to place over the last years (wie die Katz’ ihre Jungen). And at one point there was a major Wasserschaden, water damage, which is very very sad. It hurt some very interesting books. But at least I have found no mouldiness, someone took care to put them apart, give them space and gave them time to dry – a shock-freeze would have been better, but there seemingly was no time and / or space or capacity.
Books (buchbinderische Einheiten) are one thing, records (Archivalien) are another, and here things start to become a bit complicated. It’s not something you just store according to rules, it’s the heart of an institution, something that remains and lasts, and the place where an “It” wants to become manifest, so it’s an emotional place too.
Anyway, I’m much too knackered, and a bit angehievt (Sylvaner, Portugieser?) to speak about this in an adequate way, just want to say that I’m back. And if this magic stick we bought will work, I’ll be able to have internet access every day, mind you, even in Mittelfranken. I desperatly need it for research, hell no, not for reading blogs ….