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Directed by Ben Lewis

United Kingdom, Germany, Spain 2013 90 mins. In English, French, Spanish, German, Catalan

Lewis’s engaging documentary uses science fiction writer H.G. Wells’s prophetic declarations of a “complete planetary memory for all mankind,” or a “World Brain,” as his springboard. Talking with librarians, Google engineers, and futurists worldwide, his film offers a big-picture examination of the ambitious Google Book Scanning Project, which in its first decade has now captured over 30 million texts. Lewis travels the globe, from the Googleplex in Mountain View, California, to the 11th-century monastery of Montserrat in Catalonia, Spain, to capture the vast undertaking and to contemplate the future of libraries, technology, money, and intellectual property. More than just algorithms and tech, Google and the World Brain is about the dream of building “a library to last forever” and the true cost of attaining that dream.

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.