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Aradacanke kde sa vam herouke? embroidery of Aradacka Krizovka tapestry / edit / delete

Aradac is regionally known for its delicious cakes, which might not be too attractive in their aspect but surely exquisite in their taste.There is a kind of pastry that originates from Aradac although nowadays it is also made elsewhere. The dough is kneaded and shredded in particular way to obtain the form of a ball. It is called ‘herouke’. Typically it is prepared for baptisms or weddings. This cake requires not only a truly dedicated godmother but also the implication of her good friends, being that a team of women and a considerable time span is needed for its elaboration. It also requires special tools that only one artisan from a neighboring village is able to produce. That’s why herouke are prepared only for the special occasions and definitely hold the top place among the festive delicacies of Aradac. "Aradčanke kde sa vam herouke?" means "Aradac-ladies,where are your heroukas?" and jokingly refers tohow the Slovak women of Aradac are adressed inneighboring villages.The herouke embroidery was embroidered by Marka, one of the ladies of Harmonija. / Vahida, re-edited by Aviv, Dejan / edit / delete
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Village Life embroidery of Aradacka Krizovka tapestry / edit / delete

This embroidery is a combination of predesigned bird motief and stylization of typical Aradac facade done by Marka, woman we met in Aradac, and a secret message in morse code and stilized poppy bud in black. / / edit / delete
Marka is the mother of a friend of our host. One day she kindly invited us to visit her at her home. For more than half an hour she took out hand crocheted tablecloths, mats, and embroidered napkins from the upper part of the cupboard displaying them on the wide sofa. She obviously was very skilled with a needle. We sat in her living room, enjoying the coffee and cake she prepared for us, and in a relaxed atmosphere continued working on our embroideries while chatting. When we asked her how she would represent life in the village she got a bit confused, she took out a small booklet with typical embroidery patterns, such as flowers, birds, various ornaments and asked us to choose something, saying that she would embroider anything we would like. She wanted to help but felt insecure about doing something out of the ordinary. Somehow we jointly helped her reconstruct the facade of the typical Slovak house, characteristic of Aradac. She took it as homework to do it in the following days. After a couple of days she gave it back to us. She took the initiative and added some other elements from the pattern book, a rose and a swallow. She wanted to represent the happy idyllic life in the village and this was probably true in the sense of how she wanted to see it. The elements she added were small and there was a lot of empty space in between them. We debated about what other underlying story we could give it. This was just after the night spent with Boža, who spent a long time exposing us the tremendous facts regarding the young generation addicted to drugs and opiates, many of them by now dead. We added Boža’s words in black text and in morse code right next to the stylized poppy bud. / Vahida, re-edited by Aviv, Dejan / edit / delete
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Ponahlam sa / Zurim! embroidery of Aradacka Krizovka tapestry / edit / delete

Ponahlam sa/Žurim! (I'm in a Hurry in Slovak and Serbian) Early in the morning around 7, is the busiest time on the streets of Aradac. Right around this hour, lots of ladies with layered skirts andhead-scarfs are seen rushing in unknown directions with an air of utmost importance. A local friend unvailed the truth behind this phenomenon: "They are all going to have coffee with some neighbor - it's known as the "village internet" / Vahida / edit / delete
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Cloudy radiophonic messages embroidery of Aradacka Krizovka tapestry / edit / delete

We heard about very interesting guy living in Aradac. He was foto, video, and radio amateur, but his official job was a night watchman of local factory plant. We arranged a meeting with him at his workplace and work hour that was very late in the night. After long walking through the darkness towards the village outskirts a small illuminated glassed-guardhouse popped up. Our anfitrione was waiting for us there surrounded with all his amateur radio equipment treasury filling a very small space. We immediately understood this was his little paradise. He kept us in long conversation and anecdotes related to photo an radio amateurism as he was the one who did or recovered all the important photos from the village feasts, festivities, gatherings, collective works in the field, unusual events..He also gave us short course to the radio amateurism and morse code that we found very applicable in the cross stitch and introducing subliminal messages in our embroideries. He also explained us an anecdote, a small victory of the radio amateurs that occurred during the NATO bombing in 1999, who were sending meaningless messages in the ether in that way confusing the NATO pilots. This story inspired me a lot and I used it in several occasions. On this embroidery there is a sad love poem of Boza another peculiar character of Aradac, who another night kept us until very long in the night reading us his poems in the light of the candle (hi has electricity cut for not paying bills) and establishing us a diagnosis with a pendulum. / Vahida / edit / delete
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Red bench embroidery of Aradacka Krizovka tapestry / edit / delete

Just a red bench. Exceptionally wide and long on the typically wide and long Aradac street. It looks quite home made. Most of the day it stands empty. But once in a while, it becomes the site for chance encounters, lively conversation, or a well needed rest. / aviv / edit / delete
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The world according to Rozalija embroidery of Aradacka Krizovka tapestry / edit / delete

Rozalija Markov is a famous naïve painter from Aradac. We noticed that all of her paintings, which showed typical idealizing images of village life in bright colors, had one peculiarity. Each of one of them, at some corner of the canvas, had the miniature mark of two little figurines in pink and blue holding hands. When we asked her for an explanation she got a bit sensitive. It was something personal... Anyhow, she accepted to put ‘her personal stamp’ on the tapestry introducing more elements and giving us strict instructions on how to use the colors… Two figurines were levitating free in space corresponding to the eyes of a female face that was in green color. “We are all part of the universe that affects our lives, there are other forms of life and that's why I put these angels or guardian angels as I call them” she said. / 1005 / edit / delete
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Wheel of life / Shift of generations embroidery of Aradacka Krizovka tapestry / edit / delete

Most of the woman we met in Aradac were called Marka, so this is a story of one of them. She told us about generational evolution using the example of her family (her, her ancestors and her descendents) in relation to the nature of their employment. Her grandfather was a peasant working in the fields and cultivated animals, her father moved to another village and worked as an unskilled factory worker. She worked in the factory as well but as a qualified worker with better working conditions (after having gone to school). Her children received higher education and are employed in the non-productive sector: one in the faculty of philosophy and the other in a Mobile phone company. Looking at the embroidery, Nada, another village woman asked: "Considering this situation, who is going to produce food and make the things we need for living?" Her suggestion was that a current and future trend would be going back to land-cultivation like Marka's grandfather. By that, a living cycle is completed. / Vahida / edit / delete
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Vecna laska embroidery of Aradacka Krizovka tapestry / edit / delete

Aradac is one of the places with the most storks in Serbia. Storks are completely adapted to the conditions of life in the village. You can find nests on poles in backyards, on chimneys and on rooftops. Very often you can find one walking down the street or standing at the front door of your home. One day, a young guy approached our embroidery office. He told us more about the storks and why, a few years ago, he chose to settle in Aradac with his future wife. Being that he wanted to move from the city to the countryside, he was visiting different villages in the area. Aradac struck him for a specific reason: it is the village of choice for storks to come nest in the spring. To our question what storks meant to him, he responded - Eternal Love (Večná laská). Apparently storks, upon finding a mate, stay with the same one for the rest of their lifetime. Even if one of the couple dies, the other one doesn’t look for a replacement. After that, he took us to the house near by to show us a huge storks nest in the middle of the yard. The same couple of storks were coming there to nest for the past nine years. / re-edited by Aviv (who wrote the original?) Dejan / edit / delete
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Vesela masina embroidery of Aradacka Krizovka tapestry / edit / delete

The main autumn activity of Aradac villagers is distilling rakia. Each house has its own home-made distillery. One day Zdenko, our host, who runs a funeral business, arranged a wine tasting tour for us. He took us to several different households where they produce wine. We tried many wines of different kinds of grapes and learned about the process and history of wine producing in the area. But on the side there was also inevitable a handmade spirit distillery. We found out that while wine is something more refined for the experts, absolutely everybody was producing rakia for their own needs and sometimes for selling. People in the village popularly called it the Happy Machine (vesela mašina), the machine that produces happiness. / Vahida / edit / delete
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Ziva legenda embroidery of Aradacka Krizovka tapestry / edit / delete

We met Živa in the Municipality building of Aradac. He claimed to be the oldest inhabitant of the village (one of the ladies later commented "Yes, maybe among the males"). At the time of our meeting, he was completing his third mandate as the president of the Association of pensioners. He explained us his misadventures while being employed as a secret service agent (KOS) in years right after the Second World War. He told us his experiences arresting and spying on others, and how he himself was in turn distrusted and spied on. He said it was difficult to maintain friendships, his best friend once told him - "Al' te ljubim al' te se bojim" (I fear you as much as I love you) / Vahida (re-edited by Aviv) / edit / delete
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Lajka i Dzeki embroidery of Aradacka Krizovka tapestry / edit / delete

"In Aradac a new lass arrived. Laika, she's named. Black Jackie brought her there. He's so famed."I brought my dog Laika to Aradac with me. Although she was adopted from the street, living with me for some years she became a house dog, a city dog. Upon coming to the village, some problems appeared being that people there had different relations to their animals. Dogs were mostly tied with a chain living outside and barking at anyone passing by. They were assigned the function of the protectors of private propriety. As there was not too much traffic I thought it was good idea to walk Laika untied. But this proved to be a bad idea, being that the chickens were also walking free and Laika knew only birds that could fly away when she ran after them. Chickens can’t fly so she would grab one of them in her mouth and this brought about the sad ending of the chicken. After that Laika could not walk free anymore. We could not take her everywhere with us, especially if we were visiting peoples homes or some institution. So she would have to stay locked in the courtyard. One day coming back home we found the entrance gate wide opened, it was forced. Laika and Jackie, a big black neighbours’ dog, were locked together in love ecstasy. So what we could do? We let Laika and Jackie inside the house and let them be together for some time. It lasted for a very short time, but at least they lived their moment of love happiness. / Vahida, re-edited by Aviv, Dejan / edit / delete
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Mapa Aradca embroidery of Aradacka Krizovka tapestry / edit / delete

We knew that Aradac consists of two parts: a Slovak and a Serbian one. At some point they join together. The joining of the two parts never really succeeded being that the area of their intersection is a landslide and could not be used neither for building nor for cultivation. Instead a football terrain and an out of use childrens playground are placed there. It is in this exact spot where Visitor used to do martial arts in the morning. In the socialist period they placed a monument dedicated to the WW2 victims right there. Maybe as a failed intent to symbolize the union of the two Aradac. Nowadays this monument is neglect and falling apart. The land is very flat (Pannonian plain), and all the streets are typically gridded. The Slovak part is more squared consisting of 3 main streets: the 1st, the 2nd and the 3rd. The official name of the first is Maršala Tita. The Serbian part is more long and narrow. Each one of the parts has its own church and cemetery. We were told that mixed marriages between the two communities became more common only since the 1980s.The homes of Serbians and Slovaks could be distinguished by the style of the facades. While the Slovak facades are covered with tiles in bright colors, forming a decorative pattern, Serbian ones are mostly just painted in neutral colors. There is a particular kind of Slovak blue which is used a lot in cross stitch embroidery.Vojvodina’s multiculturalism is both an intrinsic and an imposed tradition, that (in both cases) seems to be as boring and burdening as any other tradition. As a mere decoration of the crucial social and political relations, it has the destiny of any other decoration. It is being adored by the proponents of a status quo and challenged by the status quo opponents… I think that the still lingering popularity of punk in many circles of the village youth in Vojvodina speaks about this tension between traditions, stereotypes and related symbolical or practical tensions... / Vahida, re-edited by Aviv, Dejan / edit / delete
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Baza u ilegali embroidery of Aradacka Krizovka tapestry / edit / delete

After hearing about the location of one of the illegal partisan basements in Aradac, I decided to dedicate an embroidery to it. In this endeavour I had to cope both with the natural loss of WW2 memories and with the causes and effects of historical revisionism, which today hegemonically profiles official memory-politics and policies. The underlying challenge were the problems of official WW2 memory-politics during socialism, related to its empty ritualism and opportunistic propagandic purpose. I hoped to overcome all these challenges with this modest annotation. It seems to me that Documentary Embroidery offers exactly the missing space and time to deal with such endeavors: less information in more time is a decent formula for less confusion and more clarification. / Vahida / edit / delete
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Nije poenta to sto si bio embroidery of Aradacka Krizovka tapestry / edit / delete

Nada (meaning hope in Serbian) is the name of a woman who would often make us company in embroidery office. She would visit us during her breaks from delivering electricity bills around Aradac. It was a student job which she got under the name of her son through the Student Union. They had arrived from Kosovo as refugees after the war broke in 1999. She also showed us a very delicate piece of textile crafts. She called the technique ‘pointless’ and added that she has been working on it for year, never finishing. While explaining the psychological obstacles that are the cause of this never finishing, we tried to cheer her up saying that it maybe really would be a pointless effort. She taught the Visitor to crochet the ribbon which is the basis of this technique and we used it to make a title for the whole Aradac tapestry. Nada also wanted to give her contribution to the tapestry and embroidered her life motto: “What you were is not the point but to continue foreward.” / Vahida, re-edited by Aviv, Dejan / edit / delete
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Ugasene fabrike embroidery of Aradacka Krizovka tapestry / edit / delete

During the 1970s and ‘80s, rivers of people flooded the streets of Aradac early every morning. They were all going to their jobs in the factories. Some of them would drive their cars to the other end of the village in order to pick up their co-workers. Others, traveling by bus, had meeting places at one of three bus stops that existed in Novosadska street. People say that every working day five buses full of workers would leave Aradac. The village was active then and full of life. During the ‘90s the crisis arrived. People were doing as best as they could with to go to work despite the gasoline shortage. Until most of them lost their jobs due to the unsuccesful privatizations.This tapestry displays the names of the closed down factories. These names are a symbol for a city sunk in apathy, a town marginalized from all the main roads. The factories are overgrown with weeds, and the lively Aradac mornings are forgotten. The black crosses which constructed the signs of the factories now stand for emptied working places. / Vahida / edit / delete
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