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Irena Knezevic’s Nine Hour Delay

Tue, Jan 28, 2014

Engaging the female workers of the Museum of Arts and Design through fashion, Serbian artist Irena Knezevic stages Nine Hour Delay, a project about Borovo, the last remaining public Yugoslav company. After the 1990 Balkan Wars, each of the ex-Yugoslav republics has developed their own version of Borovo, all of which remain public, in limbo of economic transition. They all claim their own version of Borovo's design history. This project facilities the reinstatement of an ergonomic Borosan shoe, which has been discontinued during the declining years of Yugoslav communism and works with all the manufacturing resources of ex-Borovo as one. 

Designed by an orthopedic surgeon in collaboration with Borovo, Borosan shoe was tested and produced by the Borovo female workers for public sector employees in Yugoslav factories, hospitals and schools. In the 1960’s, the model was first launched in white and navy colors, featuring an ergonomic platform, calculated as ideal for nine hours of standing without hurting the wearer’s spine. The ankle was secured by the boot depth and the feet could breathe through the porous canvas exterior.  

Museum of Arts and Design will don a new version of the Borosan in a color selected by the museum’s female workers who will wear the shoe during their workday for the duration of the project. MAD will become a site of Borosan re-institutionalization, keeping alive its constructivist maxim of great utilitarian design in service of the working woman. The ultimate goal of Nine Hour Delay is to keep Borosan in production suspending the formal dissolution of the country of Yugoslavia. With each new nine-hour work day Yugoslavia persists.


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