Strange Cities

Australia, 2000

Artwork

‘Strange Cities’ is an experimental interactive multimedia work that tells of the survival of the Russian and Chinese Communist Revolutions by two Russian exiles. It draws upon the legacy of the Shanghai milieu, the Chinese gangster film, a musical cabaret genre, orientalist erotic literature, intrigue novels, and the films of Josef von Sternberg to explore memory, transience and the urban imagination. It is an experimental interactive multimedia work authored for CD-Rom release and exhibition. Through the disclosure of evidence, Sasha dreams, discovers, remembers the exilic identity of her grandparents Xenia and Sergei Ermolaeff (a composer and orchestra leader) in fragments and traces of their music, memories, personal effects and photographs, in their struggle to survive the Russian and Chinese Communist Revolutions. The inspiration for the work is a tune of the same name - a musical illustration, an imaginary vision of old Shanghai, Chinese metropolis, and International Settlement, conjuring mythic, filmic, musical and personal images of the city port. The ‘Strange cities’ musical score1 written by Alexander Vertinsky, Serge Ermoll and Ira Bloch, was first performed by a jazz orchestra of White Russian emigres in the cabarets of the International Settlement of Shanghai, China in the 1930’s and 40’s. ‘Strange cities’ draws upon the legacy of the Shanghai milieu, the Chinese gangster film, a musical cabaret genre, orientalist erotic literature, intrigue novels, and the films of Josef von Sternberg. Coined capital of the international underworld, the city of Shanghai became a seductively strange locale symbolized in the Western imagination, in reality the city was most often the final port of call for political refugees.

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Collection

In ACMI's collection

Credits

creator

Tatiana Pentes

director

Tatiana Pentes

producer

Eurydice Aroney

writer

Tatiana Pentes

Production places
Australia
Production dates
2000

Collection metadata

ACMI Identifier

B1001957

Languages

English

Russian

Subject category

Digital Art

Sound/audio

Sound

Colour

Colour

Holdings

CD ROM; Master

CD ROM; Copy

Please note: this archive is an ongoing body of work. Sometimes the credit information (director, year etc) isn’t available so these fields may be left blank; we are progressively filling these in with further research.

Cite this work on Wikipedia

If you would like to cite this item, please use the following template: {{cite web |url=https://acmi.net.au/works/108248--strange-cities/ |title=Strange Cities |author=Australian Centre for the Moving Image |access-date=9 December 2023 |publisher=Australian Centre for the Moving Image}}