Odessa, ghost city

Odessa has many faces. There is a Russian Odessa, a Jewish Odessa, a Greek Odessa, a port-Odessa, a merchant Odessa, a fashionable Art Nouveau Odessa, the Odessa of the dark inner courtyards and passages, and the Odessa of Babel which does not exist any more: it has been replaced by Odessa, the ghost city as Vsevolod Vlasenko called it on his photo exhibition of 2006.

We begin with his images the presentation of Odessa for the order of Effe, because at the Wang river you can also order from what we have on stock, and how would it be possible not to have on stock at least a little bit of Odessa?

In turn we only ask of him, the great tale-teller, that if some of the images tally with the Odessa living in him,  may he write a story to it. Not necessarily now: there will be more occasion later. For Odessa does not only have many faces, but also many good photographers, each of them presenting a different face of her: so we shall return to her more than once.





















17 comentarios:

Julia dijo...
Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.
Effe dijo...

Su Одесса ho risposto di là (e grazie, mil gracias per questo splendido regalo).
Che poi, il Rio Wang “di là” è anche il Rio Wang “di qua” – ma dove ci troviamo, in definitiva? In Italia, in Ungheria, In Ucraina, in Argentina, o dove altro?
Essere in ogni luogo contemporaneamente, moltiplicare la propria voce; sarebbe piaciuto a Pessoa.

Language dijo...

Wonderful photos (of course), and I'm very glad you're turning your attention to Odessa, along with Tbilisi the city I most regret missing on my tour of the USSR. I have an excellent book Odessa Memories that's full of good photos of the old days, so it's good to get the modern images as a supplement.

Megkoronáz, AJP dijo...

It reminds me of Detroit, a beautiful city in many ways. You might enjoy this recent BBC film about it, Requiem For Detroit?, that's available on youtube.

By the way, in English, Jugendstil is usually called Art Nouveau. According to Wikipedia it's known as Stile Liberty in Italy, and that's from Liberty's, the great London department store that sold William Morris fabric etc., but it's not the normal name in English.

Studiolum dijo...

Thank you for the correction. It has been an old mistake of mine, inherited, in fact, from the Italian name of the style which sounds so English (while the English name sounds so French) that I have unconsciously adopted it in my English as well. I would be also very grateful to you (and to every patient Reader) for any future correction.

I would have not imagined any similarity between Detroit and Odessa. I will watch the video for sure.

Effe dijo...

Detroit?
Could be, never been there.
But Odessa rather reminds me of Napoli.
Please see
here
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here
here
here
here
here
anf here

Effe dijo...

(above all last pictures)

Studiolum dijo...

The life and the erosion are surely similar. But a main difference to me is that Odessa was dreamed and built by her founders, Catherina II and those following her vision as a città signorile, something similar to Naples’ Galleria Umberto among your photos. This is still felt in the city’s architecture, and so the distance between one-time dream and present conditions appears to be much larger than in Naples. The level of destruction, which in Naples only seems to be a necessary companion of intensive life, makes the once splendid buildings of Odessa really ghost-like.

Megkoronáz dijo...

It's that contrast they also have in Detroit: some quite nice public amenities, and the huge factories and now-empty skyscrapers with trees growing from their upper storeys. In the recent past the factories were lit-up at night, belching floodlit red smoke and sparks.

The BBC film, I forgot to say, is by Julien Temple.

Effe dijo...

You're probably right: consumption may come either from subtraction or accumulation.

Irina dijo...

Some update on Odessa: http://booknik.ru/news/announces/?id=32889

It may happen that Urban Studio will change the situation for better. One thing scares me-the renovations. Yet I hope they will not make it something like the Moscow downtown renovations.

Studiolum dijo...

Thank you for the news! On a first reading I cannot decide whether it is a serious project, a brainstorming or just a fundraising styled to the taste of the nouveau riche. If the latter, I hope it will only produce ideas without effectively contributing to the restoration.

Irina dijo...

God knows...Unfortunately, I'm not much optimistic as well. They started doing renovations, increasing the height of the buildings by erecting mansards thus absolutely neglecting initial proportions of the buildings, etc. I would gladly send you few recent photos by my daughter, an art historian taken last May if you're interested.
Let's hope there at the Urban Studio will be young architects who understand the importance of preserving Odessa's architecture and its special spirit in general. I passionately love the city...

MOCKBA dijo...

Another not-yet-fully-explored spiritual connection links Odessa to Buenos Aires. "The pearl by the sea" aka "Ah, Odessa" is the the unofficial anthem of the city, back from the "Babelian" era. Ах, Одесса, жемчужина у моря...

It is generally believed that the tune is Argentinian in origin, and people even say that its title used to me "Ay, Maria". But to the best of my knowledge, nobody has ever confirmed that such a porteno tune really existed.

languagehat dijo...

It is generally believed that the tune is Argentinian in origin

Really? It doesn't sound at all Argentine to me. As for the date, this book suggests it may be from the 1950s, but with two question marks. Strange that there's no clear information on its origin.

MOCKBA dijo...

Nothing strange about the absence of clear info, Tabachnikov's "Ah, Odessa" has always been an underground sort of a tune, and as such, it doesn't have a perfect official biography.

Many sources claim that Modest Tabachnikov wrote both the score and the lyrics, the latter under a pen name М. Любин, perhaps as early as in 1936 (the lyrics were bound to be scorned by the officials and accepted by the Odessa underworld ... but with a different text, by A. Galla (?) and a different title, "Uncle Vanya", in 1939 the tune morphed into an approved hit). But according to this biography, "Ah, Odessa" may have been written later, perhaps as late as in 1941: http://vodesse.narod.ru/te/tabachnikov.html

The most often narrated tale can be found e.g. here:
http://shkolazhizni.ru/archive/0/n-19555/
О создании песни «Ах, Одесса, жемчужина у моря» существует немало легенд. Говорят, что в 1936 году Модест пришел в ресторан гостиницы «Лондонская» проведать своих друзей-музыкантов, которые «лабали» в этом увеселительном заведении. Пока друзья наяривали какую-то мелодию, Табачников терпеливо их ожидал. Они играли вдохновенно, весело, и оттого, что чувства его переполняли, композитор начал набрасывать на салфетке ноты будущей песни

Of course this legend sounds kind of like a remix of Yakov Yadov's story of the creation of his famous foxtrot "Bubliki", with an equally obscure source of the music (and Yadov worked with Oscar Strok, the King of Russian Tango - the other signature underworld song of antebellum Odessa, the "Murka" has been theirs). So perhaps Tabachikov's and Yadov's threads - both of the famous underground melodies - got tangled in memories?

Studiolum dijo...

Sorry for replying so late to your fascinating comment. Don’t you want to write a post about it for Río Wang?