Danube Architecture

May 15th, 2009 | researchmaterial

"Brus Sterling" for Tranz Art. Some dialogue in Serb.

Splavovi from Jasmina Tesanovic on Vimeo.


6 Responses to “Danube Architecture”

  1. Also there’s a whole party scene on splavs and disused boats.

  2. This is really, I mean it just, actually I have been given a great, it has a certain, on so many levels, Es ist alles nur in meinem Kopf, Thanks ;)

  3. Anyone speak Serb? I’d love to have translations.

  4. I’ll try to jot some stuff down here in the comments thread, though the dialogue in Serbian is, for the most part, generic and uninteresting (well, at least to me, since they all sound like every old fart that I’ve ever met).

  5. Geezer #1
    So you see, i was the fire department chief in Zemun (*riverside town within the City of Belgrade*), and we were tasked with tearing down these wooden huts belonging to people who were being relocated and what-have-you’s, so there was more than plenty of this material, so we, you see, brought those elements here and built it so it’s be our house. So along the way there were houses being built like these, you see, out of bricks and mortar, but now there’s been a bit of a change in the mentality, different people came here, and they started building with bricks and mortar, so it’s not what it used to be anymore.

    <<>

    In every urban agglomeration and in the City, you’re constrained with some regulations, rules, right? For example, i dunno, the apartments have to be like this, they’re facing the way you don’t want them to face, y’know, you don’t have enough sunshine nor air, and so on. So now the question that arises, so there wouldn’t be chaos, like there is in Bangladesh and i don’t know where else on the globe, is that there should be some sort of regulation and so i helped them with those, for example, right here they demanded that everything should be made out of all-natural materials, not out of something artificial, then that one house shouldn’t in any way intrude on another, that everything should, ecologically, be in order, that the sanitation units and so on were par excellence… the normal requirements that already exist, and voila, that’s how people acted, in accordance with those rules. There were periods of extremely high temperatures, then normal, then cold, and so on… I think that global theory, about the global warming, that it’s more of a propaganda, economically, you know, the same like with the ozone layer. Now we’re causing a fuss because of those Halons, all those chemicals that are ruining the ozone layer, and you see – it’s fixng itself!

    <>

    Geezer #2
    Splavs used to be, how should i say, mostly for poor people, mostly poor people owned them, i mean, not just the poor, there were the artists, there were celebrities, who had splavs, who loved the river, who socialized that way… but lately, after our breakup, well, that’s how i personally see things, the breakup of Yugoslavia, and the diminished possibilities for a man to afford himself to go, like he used to, without any fears, licenses, paperwork, to go to the sea, and here, 10-15 minutes away from his home, he has some place where he can afford himself a bit of rest, he can enjoy himself… you can see how many people there are here on a nice day, and, to finish what i started to say, that before the 90’s this was mostly for poor people, well, i don’t know why it was mostly for poor people. Back then, splavs were usually made with small houses on top of them, small needs, people came, but there wasn’t any electricity, there weren’t, like they have now, bathrooms and, well, practically dining rooms, depending, of course, on the individual, and now they’re becoming more serious and more expensive, it’s now an expensive investment.

  6. Young guy#1
    There are people who make the splavs, but their services are really expensive, so it’s a whole lot cheaper to do it this way, and better, since they work the way they think it should be done, and we do it our way, so we don’t agree on certain matters, so it’s better to work the way you want it.

    musical interlude

    Young guy #1
    My father bought this splav, but he never comes, this doesn’t interest him, he’s a busy man, i don’t think he knows how to enjoy himself. We’re young guys, we like to enjoy ourselves, we gather here often, make parties, and we’re having a great time here, really great time. We have nice neighbors too, they’re a bit older, though, heh, but they don’t mind that we’re playing loud music, and so on.

    musical interlude

    Geezer #3
    Some thirty years ago, us three friends managed to get a great deal on this dilapidated, basically a wreckage of a splav, and so we started, slowly, a bit at a time, to rebuild it, to build a new house, and so we started coming here. We got organized by taking a piece of paper,and everyone wrote down their friends, and we realized that the three of us have some 40 friends, and each of them got an assignment – to tell us what he would like to do, what kind of work he prefers, just one day out of those seven days, and so we got our crew together, each of them worked for a single day and we built a sublime splav, took it all down, everything was completely done in just 7 days. All three of us had very stressful jobs, so this was a lovely opportunity to rest, hang out, and every time there’s a barbecue up there, friends come over and so on. So that’s how it started. I don’t know if I’d still be in this shape, really, if i didn’t come here for years. Whoever comes here, it makes a huge difference. I mean, even in the quality of your diet, people here eat differently, you don’t care about meat all that much, i mean, mostly we eat fish, vegetables and so on. Really, an entirely different lifestyle.

    Musical interlude

    Geezer #3
    There isn’t anything like this anywhere in the world, I know that because some of my friends used to come by with their friends from, say, America or from Paris, there were some people from Paris here, some friends of ours, and they were utterly delighted with what they’ve seen here and i noticed that they are bothered by these new houses that have sprung up, because old
    rafters, they have older houses like these, i mean, they’re not old and dilapidated, they get painted over a bit every year, when the season comes, they get painted yellow, red, green, and what-have-you… pretty colours. But these new ones, the new arrivals, they build almost proper houses, only they’re not on the shore, on the hard ground, but on water.

    Musical interlude

    Geezer #2
    Up until the 90s, the splavs here were, you could say, real splavs, splavs that could move, splavs that depended on the weather and whatnot, but after the 90’s, they started to make the new splavs, new sort of rafting emerged, which, as you can see, these are already houses, not tiny rafts anymore, irregardless of them being private splavs, each according to his own means, and his own comfort.

    Musical Interlude

    Geezer #2
    So far we have spalvs as far as these wires, the power lines, so, another 100 meters or so, that belongs to Ada Ciganlija, and we’re already on the raft #258, so there’s about 300 of them, just listed under Ada. However, there really isn’t a free spot on this side of the river, all the way to Umka.

    musical interlude

    Geezer #3
    There’s an old adage about people with boats how they always envy people sitting on splavs, and the ones with the splavs, they envy the ones with the boats. That’s why i have both a boat and a splav, the difference is that a splav is far more stable than it is on a boat, so it’s much more pleasant sitting on a raft, but it’s nice to have a boat so you can go around a bit with it.

    musical interlude

    Young guy #2
    The river is everything to us. I mean, every Zemun native has an overwhelming love towards the Danube, and as soon as the time comes to go to the Danube, we go to the Danube, and we chill out.
    Young guy #3
    There was that time in November…
    Young guy #2
    Sometimes we even go for a swim in December. When you go to the Danube, you come and you stay all day long, the shade and the sun feels good, and, hell, everything. It totally relaxes you, the water, just by itself.
    I really can’t imagine living anywhere else. When i was a kid, i wished for Danube to be the sea, but then i realized that Danube is much better than the sea.

    musical Interlude

    Geezer #2
    This really a sea, Belgrade’s sea. If only they’d try to take care of it and not throw all sorts of things in the water around these parts… I don’t think there’s any better kind of recreation and rest, especially since lately no one is building weekend houses, like they used to do.
    Listen, if you go to Kopaonik now, if you have a weekend house there, it would take you 3 or 4, with a good car, but still, 5 hour drive. You’re here in just 10 minutes from the center of the city.

    musical interlude with crappy folky music. The lyrics go “Take all that life offers you. Today you’re a flower, tomorrow you’re a withered rose”

    Geezer #2
    This means a lot, for the splav owners themselves, for the citizens of Belgrade, however, of course, it means a lot to Belgrade itself, but if only someone would want to come up with a solution. What does that mean, a solution? Well, to make these that don’t take care of their objects anymore to fix them up a bit, tart them up a bit, at least, so when someone comes by here, tourist agencies with people, or whatnot, that they can see, that they can feel that this is something, some part of Belgrade’s charm, its beauty, which it is.