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NInA, the most cutting-edge audiovisual arts center in Poland has opened its doors to the public!

A high-tech multifunction auditorium ready for 4K screenings, concerts, and theatre plays, a mediatheque with a rich collection of unique audiovisual materials, a plethora of workshops and classes for both children and senior citizens, and Café Gorączka (the Fever Café) — all of it and more now available to visitors at the newly renovated headquarters of the National Audiovisual Institute (NInA), the most cutting-edge audiovisual arts center that has recently opened its doors in Warsaw.

The new offices will help NInA in carrying out its core mission: the preservation, archiving, and popularization of Polish audiovisual heritage. Cutting-edge projection, digitization, and reconstruction hardware, as well as educational areas, conference halls, and entertainment centers will facilitate the achievement of the Institute’s core objectives. NInA will become an audiovisual arts center open to all, a facility that hosts workshops, concerts, and exhibitions, and empowers the realization of individual ideas and projects.

A new cultural institution has been established, one that’s fully open to the public. We’re available 24/7 on the Internet, while our physical offices are open every day. All age groups are welcome at the Institute. Our mediatheque is a universally available repository of all the materials we managed to collect and save in our archives over the years — says Michał Merczyński, Director of the National Audiovisual Institute.

5 Petabytes of Culture

The very core of NInA is formed by the the Archives, a repository of audiovisual materials collected by the Institute. The Archives contain comprising movies (including Andrzej Wajda’s Without Anesthesia and Jerzy Skolimowski’s Walkover), animations, documentaries (including Joanna by Aneta Kopacz or the Polish School of Documentary Filmmaking series), recordings of theatre plays and archival radio and television broadcasts. The NInA Archives is a high-tech video repository available to everyone, a valuable source of information and knowledge for researchers, students, and all visual culture enthusiasts.

The Archives are supported by an extensive, high-grade technical infrastructure. NInA servers form a major cluster of Polish culture, with over 5 petabytes of hard drive space at the Institute’s disposal (equivalent to about 1 million DVD discs). To maintain an appropriate level of security, the most valuable and crucial items in the Archives are stored separately, on independent media. Both storage systems are located in separate server rooms, each one equipped with sophisticated security and fire protection and prevention systems, guaranteeing efficiency and high output of the entire infrastructure, capable of handling multiple 4K streams.

The new, high-tech multifunction auditorium is another centerpiece of the new NInA offices. With seating for 120 people, the auditorium can serve, among other roles, as a screening room capable of handling digital 4K footage. The audio system in the auditorium is equipped with cutting-edge DOLBY ATMOS-certified hardware: speakers are located in the front and back of the auditorium, as well as on the hall’s sides and ceiling. It’s only the second screening room in all of Poland to be furnished with that grade of audio equipment.

Aside from film screenings, the auditorium will also play host to meetings, conferences, and musical and stage performances.

Also, in NInA’s new offices everyone can digitize their own home audiovisual archives under the watchful eye of industry professionals. The Institute provides visitors with digitization equipment that allows them to safely transfer VHS footage, audio tapes, as well as photographs and other archival items onto digital media. NInA is the only site in Poland to offer digitization hardware capable of handling 8mm film.

There are numerous workshop areas and even a café on the grounds of the Institute, and we’ll be opening our courtyard to the public, along with its chillout zone and a special artistic activity sector, this September. The courtyard will also play host to multiple film screenings. All rooms and spaces available to the public are named after an iconic piece of Polish audiovisual heritage - primarily movies and TV programs, including The Promised Land (multifunction auditorium), The Four Seasons (the courtyard) or See You Tomorrow (the conference hall).

The NInA offices were modernized and remodeled using funds assigned from Priority 11: Culture and cultural heritage of the Infrastructure and Environment Operational Programme 2007-2013, operated by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The total cost of the project was 54M PLN, 46M out of which was provided by the European Union.

The Mission and Objectives of NInA

The establishment of the Institute and its continued activity are undeniably great achievements. The Institute is in and of itself a turning point in the way that Polish cultural institutions function. It will quickly become a beacon radiating all over the cultural map of the country. We have this incredible potential, all we have to do now is think how best to utilize it. We need just one more collective effort in order to make culture the lifeblood of this nation — said Agnieszka Holland, acclaimed movie director, president of the NInA Council.

For over a decade, the National Audiovisual Institute has been digitizing, reconstructing, archiving, and popularizing Polish audiovisual heritage. The Institute will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its establishment by expanding further into offline projects, developed and implemented in its newly renovated offices at 3/5 Wałbrzyska St. in Warsaw.

Aware of the ever-shifting needs of its users, NInA focuses its outreach on children, adolescents, and senior citizens. It promotes all incarnations of Polish audiovisual heritage, showcasing the work of widely acclaimed artists as well as projects developed by newcomers and amateurs.

The Institute will keep on working to develop highly aware consumers and creators of audiovisual culture. The vast spaces of the new NInA offices and the Institute grounds are fully open to visitors and their ideas. Over half of the Institute’s annual agenda will be created in collaboration or in consultation with other parties — organizations, institutions, as well as companies, associations, and individual people — by way of open calls, initiatives, and voting on individual elements of the agenda.

NInA’s Agenda

NInA’s annual agenda comprises a broad range of initiatives divided into three major categories: education, film, and music. The educational program consists of workshops, classes, and seminars for people of all ages. NInA is hosting summer day camps for kids aged 6-12. Participants will partake in a host of different activities, including creating a stop-motion movie, learning to beatbox and using their bodies to make sounds. The “Home Archives” project is aimed specifically at families. Over its course, participants will be able to digitize their personal recordings and consult with professionals regarding best available techniques in preserving the contents of family archives. Additionally, NInA will be hosting audio description courses throughout the year. The classes will immerse participants in issues surrounding the consumption of audiovisual materials by the blind and people with impaired sight.

Employees of cultural institutions, NGOs, and teachers can attend a series of audiovisual seminars called Workshop 2.0. During the seminars, participants will discuss issues surrounding digital archives, digital libraries, and online museum collections. NInA’s education activities also include interdisciplinary projects aimed at teenagers that help them prepare for their high school graduation exams, and the Kids’ Academy, a university for children offering classes on media education, dubbing workshops, and many others.

The film program will be focused around the new multifunction auditorium from September 2015 onwards, around the courtyard that will also serve as an outdoor, open-air cinema. The program will be filled with feature films, documentaries, and archival footage, films produced by NInA, and much more. The summer program will include “Music Video Night”: a retrospective of the most interesting and captivating Polish music videos released in the past couple of years.

In July, the Institute will host a performance by Raphael Rogiński and his guests. The show will feature songs by Moondog, a minimalist composer whose works are inspired by the chants of Native American shamans. Super Girl and Romantic Boys, representatives of the local new romantic and disco scenes with edgy punk roots will play on the Institute grounds in August.

NInA will also host workshops, classes, games, and urban walks centered around music aimed at kids age 2 and older, adolescents, and adults, organized and led by the staff behind Muzykoteka Szkolna, one of the Institute’s online portals, and invited experts and cultural animators. These efforts will serve as an extension of Muzykoteka’s educational initiatives.

NInA’s musical agenda also features another event aimed grade school and middle school students: “Maps for Ears” is a walk around the Służew neighborhood during which the participants will not only look at their surroundings but listen to them as closely as possible. They will be assisted in these efforts by a host of exercises and minute interventions into their aural environment. The kids will also have a chance to create eco-friendly musical instruments. NInA will also host transposition workshops and sound-centered urban games for both kids and adults.

Entry to all events is free of charge.

The 2015 NInA Beta Version Festival (September 25-27)

NInA Beta Version, a continuation of the Culture 2.0 festival, will be a celebration of audiovisual culture stretched over the course of a couple of days. The festival, scheduled for the September 25-27, 2015 weekend, with its main theme being “Digital Narratives”, will feature two main programme sections focused on new narrative strategies in culture, history through digital media and the depiction of archives from an affective perspective. The festival agenda also features performances by young representatives of the Polish music scene, a local project centered on the history of Służew and its memory, organized by Krzysztof Żwirblis and natives of Służew, a plethora of debates, a keynote address by professor Lev Manovich, a medialab exhibition, interactive installations created by Polish and foreign webdoc artists, and an audiovisual family picnic organized by the NInA staff.

NInA Online

The opening of NInA’s new headquarters does not mean that the Institute will cease its online efforts. On the contrary, offline projects will complement the Institute’s online activities and intermesh with upcoming projects that NInA is developing for the Internet. Another thematic multimedia collection, this time dedicated to the work of Tadeusz Kantor, is expected to launch shortly.

Ninateka (www.ninateka.pl) is an audiovisual library with over 5025 items, comprising feature films (including Krzysztof Krauze’s The Debt), acclaimed documentaries (including Krzysztof Kieślowski’s From a Night Porter's Point of View and Marcel Łoziński’s Father and Son on a Journey), recordings of theatre performances (including Krzysztof Warlikowski’s (A)pollonia), operas (including Mariusz Treliński’s King Roger, animations, radio plays, and TV and radio broadcasts.

The School Musicotheque (www.muzykotekaszkolna.pl) is a website dedicated to raising conscious consumers of music. The website features a films, games, interviews, and biographies of composers, and a veritable trove of properly annotated musical works. In collaboration with a group of experts, Muzykoteka Szkolna created the Canon — comprising over 130 individual works, the Canon serves as a guide through the most important pieces of music created in Europe between the Middle Ages and the present day.

dwutygodnik.com is one of the most important online magazines in Poland — providing its readers with an up-to-date look on the ins and outs of the cultural and social life of the nation as well as opinion pieces from acclaimed thinkers and authors. Published by NInA since 2009, the magazine invariably sides with all things cultural. English selection of the magazine’s articles biweekly.pl is also available.

You can learn more at www.nina.gov.pl