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ARCHIVE - Passport Control 1-41 - MEDIAWAVE Art Workshops :: PASSPORT CONTROL 3 - Altai & Novosibirsk (Russia), 2007 :: 6 September, ALTAI-NOVOSIBIRSK

6 September, ALTAI-NOVOSIBIRSK

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The photos on this page were taken by Péter Szabó, a teacher of PASSPORT CONTROL Workshop.

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Jenő Hartyándi:

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It was time to say goodbye to the Altaic region and go back to Novosibirsk. Our guide, who stayed there, gave us a fantastic book full of pictures intoducing the natural treasures, the environment with all its creatures in the Altaic region written by his father. We are looking forward to meet both of them at our Festival, though probably we have to wait quite a long time, as men who resist to be soldiers, don’t get a passport for several years.
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Our favourite driver had already left with an other group to the mountains, so we didn’t have the chane to give him „The Best Driver in the Altai” award. However we got a new driver, and comparing him to his way of driving we really missed our former one.
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At the edge of the Altaic region we stopped for shopping at a market. Here you could find everything from every kind of home-made honey and honey wine, to exotic pickles and unrecognizable goods. During our way back the usual Siberian landscape welcame us with the political advertisements along the roads, which preached the 250 year-long unity of the Altai and Russia.
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During the nights for getting me fall asleep I read a book I had bought before we came here. Its title is: „Hungarian pioneers of faraway peoples”. Unfortunately first I only read the parts describing Siberia and the Central-Asian regions, and only after these chapters I began to read the others, which proved to be a great summary of my experiences in the Altai. The first quotation was written by Lajos Biró (1856-1931) a pioneer of New Guinea, in a letter to Imre Szalay, a museum director accompanying his collection sent home:
„People here live in a simplicity left from the Stone Age (…), like our people might have been 30,000 years ago, when they weren’t aware of good or evil. How different they might have been from the way we tend to imagine them from here now. How different the „wild people”, the people of the nature are from the images we have created about them. How falsely, let’s say: blatantly we judge the civilization, morals and talent of the people of the Stone Age, and thus of our own ancestors. We decrease them to the level of the animals so that we can elevate ourselves for an upper level. Their tiny society refutes our theories about them, because it consists of morals and love without religions, order and peace without laws and police, freedom without guards. The tragedy of the humankind is that the people of the Stone Age possess it without being aware of it, while our society knows well the situation when only its name is left.”

And an other quotation from Emil Torday (1875-1931), a pioneer of Congo (actually the only written memory published in Hungarian from the expeditor):
„To be honest, we have to admit that the majority of the Europeans don’t keep either the rules of the inhabitant etiquette, or their own country’s ones, supposing that it won’t have any consequences among the wild people. It’s a mistake. We wouldn’t even enter our neighbour’s house without his permission, but how many white people are willing to ask the chief’s permission to settle down in his village? (…) According to the inhabitants, it’s sacred to be and to welcome guests, thus if you settle down in their village with the admission of the leader, then they feel responsible to save his life. In case he misses to ask for the permission, he is just an intruder for them. They are mainly freshmen, who believe their skin’s white colour makes them definitely important people. In fact the inhabitants not only judge white people based on their personal experiences with them, but they examine them continuously every moment, following their every movement, every action with their attention and also with their comments.”
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