Joerg Burger, AUT, 2023, 92'
Fri. 4.8.2023, 11h00, La Sala
Sat. 5.8.2023, 9h00, Palacinema 1

en / it / de / fr

In “Archiv der Zukunft”, each repeated gesture becomes the fascinating choreography of scientific know-how and the promise of its perpetuation. Joerg Burger spent four years behind the scenes of the Natural History Museum in Vienna and its collection of 30 million objects. With almost clinical precision, he scrutinises the abundant activity in a fascinating place, which combines the preservation of the past with a reflection on the future.

The director’s film portrays all stages of the museum’s work: From the taxidermist who revives a rodent mammal with his hammers, to the labour of retired volunteers cleaning hundreds of fossils for hours. One of them, who has been working at the institution for 25 years, is delighted: “It's almost meditative to tap on these objects all day long to empty them of their sand.” Bit by bit, a human aspect emerges from all these movements. We feel the unfailing commitment of the employees, but also their concern about possible budget cuts.

In addition to this plea for fundamental research, “Archiv der Zukunft” also excels in showing the comical situations that surface during the day: While the installation of a giant skeleton turns into a strange obstacle course for the craftspeople, the frozen expressions of the animals reveal another facet of world history. Without ever being judgmental, “Archiv der Zukunft” captivates as much as it transcends the topic, leading to a broad reflection on the human condition.

Adrien Kuenzy