The Borosana shoe was first developed over a nine-year period (1960-69) at Borovo Rubber Industry Headquarters in Vukovar, Croatia. After being designed and tested by the Borovo female workforce and an orthopedic surgeon, the shoe was institutionalized for Yugoslav women working in the public sector. Borosana was launched in 1969, in white and navy colors, featuring an ergonomic platform, calculated as ideal for nine hours of standing without hurting the wearer’s spine. In the declining years of Yugoslav communism the model was withdrawn from mass production and fabrication was abandoned when Vukovar became a major Yugoslav war zone in 1991. The workers returned in 1999 finding only the office building, the shoe factory, and the company hospital structurally safe. Today those buildings house factory production. The remainder of the industrial complex can only be described as an overgrown post- apocalyptic ruin. Despite the decline of recent wars, the Vukovar plant is rebuilding and Borovo factory network remains the most diverse and the most ethnically divided. It is the only factory able to model the Borosana shoe base as it was designed in the 1960s.
Each time this project is exhibited Borosana becomes the official work shoe of the host institution advancing the constructivist maxim of great utilitarian design in service of the working woman. The new production run is black and available for checkout for the women working in and around the hosting institution. The project disperses through clouds of poster and video ads and uniforms sporting sayings and slogans Borovo workers adopted from the 1990’s war. Since Borosanas can only be worn while performing work, the shoes become a medium, a prosthetic of labor: once they are on, work commences: when they are off, work ends. With each step, the shoe extends the architecture of labor and provides the wearers with a distinction between labor time and leisure time. Borovo remains the last public Yugoslav infrastructure. The inability to legally split and privatize the company’s public assets prevents Yugoslavia from fully formally splitting to this day. With every new step Yugoslavia persists (insists).