Interior photos by Attila Balázs
Ten contemporary stories told in the year of Saint Martin
March 19 – November 11, 2016
Pannonhalma Archabbey (Pannonhalma, Hungary)
According to the noteworthy scientists and minds of our age mankind will develop artificial intelligence within a reasonable amount of time. If we are indeed capable of constructing robots that do not only approximate but even exceed our human abilities, what will make us different and more than these extremely clever creatures? The answer can possibly be found in the example of a man born 1700 years ago. Ten photo series containing ten photos show the story of such Hungarian people in whom the deeds of Saint Martin appear again, who very often offer help beyond their power, whose actions seem illogical and take responsibility for others, overstepping their prejudices, field of work, and social and cultural impregnation. Through them the sensible receiver may sense that we are together not only with the soldier, bishop living 50 generations before but with each other as well.
It is not necessary to act in the name of Saint Martin for those who share their time, power, knowledge, possessions or their whole life with others. At the same time it is possible to gain strength from the tradition that links us to our ancestors who lived here centuries ago and had to fight the same troubles and dilemmas to find the solutions we are still looking for even nowadays.
The beggars, Saint Martin shared his soldier’s cloak and later his bishop’s cloak, unselfishly were faithless pagans threatening Christianity. The monk-bishop far from weakening Christianity and his own culture with this gesture actually experienced and strengthened religion. Solidarity and empathy with the vulnerable, travelling people, as was Martin himself, is a virtue that makes us human.
We are humans and as such we are fallible and fragile, the gesture of helping each other stays with us throughout our life. In the photo series four of them show the life of people helping mainly children and adolescents, another four show people helping mainly adults and two show people helping older people. A good example of the sharing practiced by Saint Martin is the doctor helping premature babies, the therapist that uses horses working with blind children, the class admitting children with Down syndrome, the Roma football coach who provides a handhold for disadvantaged teenagers, the family with five own children adopting four mores, the Lutheran pastor organizing work for the villagers in Szabolcs county, the actor performing together with his students, the missionary ophthalmologist working in Congo, the district nurse visiting elderly people in the capital, and the policeman in Nyíregyháza helping rural people with their daily business alike.
At the same time, besides acknowledging the dangers of the development of artificial intelligence, it is nice to see that technological developments bring us closer to each other in many ways. For example in this exhibition the background interviews made by the grammar school-students of Pannonhalma with the subjects of the portraits of the photo series are available through an application for smart phones using augmented reality. After you have learnt about them, please share your experiences with us in connection with Saint Martin’s sharing at the end of the exhibition!
Curator: István Virágvölgyi
Exhibiting photographers: Attila Balázs, András D. Hajdú and Zsófia Pályi
Pannonhalma Archabbey Cultural Office: Konrád Dejcsics, Nóra Majoros
The show was accompanied by an illustrated catalogue in Hungarian and English.
Tízen Szent Márton nyomdokában (InfoRádió)
Az arc nemessége – az „Osztás 10×10” című pannonhalmi fotókiállításról (Magyar Kurír)
10 köztünk élő "szent", akik miatt jobb hely a világ (SZEMlélek)
Amikor a 10×10 = végtelen (KULTer)
Siker a Magyar Sajtófotó Pályázaton (Down Alapítvány)
Balázs Attila és Osztás 10x10 (Pannonhalmi Bencés Gimnázium)