Community of Small local businesses of Novo Naselje – Watchmakers (Novi Sad, Serbia)
Feb 22, 2024

Tamara Kostrešević residency 2023, Novi Sad

The community of small businesses in Novo Naselje represents a network of small shops comprising over 15 different establishments within just three buildings. What makes this community unique is the presence of several traditional crafts that are on the verge of extinction among its members. Over the past two years, we have collaborated with a specific segment of this community, including a watchmaker, tailors, a small general store, a men’s hairdresser, an upholsterer, a veterinary clinic, and a digital printing shop.

Every entrepreneur within this community faces the challenge of minimal, and sometimes insufficient, product sales. This situation puts them in an unfavorable position, affecting the maintenance of their businesses. Additionally, the lack of financial resources hinders business promotion efforts and the development of a suitable visual identity for their shops.

This year, our focus has been particularly on the craft of watchmaking, a business run by Ivan and Albert. Ivan inherited the watchmaker shop from its previous owner, who meticulously taught him the craft. On the other hand, Albert engages in this profession primarily out of love and hobby, bringing a unique enthusiasm to the daily activities of the shop. Their relationship with customers reflects a dedication to client satisfaction. While their clientele is mostly regular customers, their services often involve replacing watch batteries. By posing the question of why we shouldn’t repair our watches instead of immediately replacing them with new ones, they bring attention to the crucial topic of sustainability and responsibility towards the planet. In an era where acquiring a new watch is easily accessible due to affordable prices, Ivan and Albert remind us of the importance of preserving old watches, not only for financial savings but also for reducing the negative impact on the environment.

Their initiative, encouraging people to consider repair over replacement, positions the watchmaker workshop as a catalyst for change in how we perceive consumption. Their approach goes beyond ordinary service provision, raising questions about sustainability and emphasizing the importance of preserving existing items. This initiative not only builds awareness about safeguarding traditional crafts but also promotes responsible behavior towards the planet, making the watchmaker workshop an integral part of a community striving for positive changes.

During the artistic residencies, both Ivan and Albert have successfully collaborated with the local artist Tamara. Tamara not only spent leisure time with them but also immersed herself in the watchmaking process, gaining a profound understanding of the intricacies involved.


“Magic Carpets” project:  

Do you feel the passage of time? (by Tamara Kostrešević)

Tamara Kostrešević’s experimental film, “Do You Feel the Passage of Time?,” serves as a poignant commentary on the pervasive impact of capitalism on our current reality. The film’s simplicity in form, marked by fluctuating visuals and stark yet impactful captions, becomes a canvas through which Tamara delves into the global issues that envelop us. At its core, the narrative unfolds from the vantage point of a watchmaker, whose craft symbolizes the passage of time—a paradoxical journey into the very temporality that challenges his profession.

The film emerges as a socio-cultural introspection, skillfully portraying the inheritance of the watchmaker’s trade from his mentor. Tamara weaves a compelling narrative, not just of personal chronicles but of the broader societal narrative. The watchmaker’s dwindling trade in Serbia becomes a metaphor for the endangered craftsmanship grappling with the pressures of global production, consumer culture, and the fast-paced contemporary lifestyle. In this context, Tamara lays bare the paradoxical relationship between time, the artisanal craft, and the relentless march of progress.

Tamara’s lens sharpens the focus on the disappearing art of watchmaking in Serbia, a craft now endangered by the ease of acquiring new, inexpensive timepieces in our consumer-driven society. The film thus invites viewers to reflect on their own relationship with time, questioning the societal shift from repairing and preserving to the prevalent culture of discarding and replacing.

The experimental nature of the film transcends conventional storytelling. Tamara engages with her audience, not merely as passive spectators but as introspective participants in a shared temporal experience. The film provokes contemplation on the societal implications of our choices—choices that may seem insignificant on an individual level but collectively shape the destiny of crafts, cultures, and our broader human narrative.

“Do You Feel the Passage of Time?” is not just a film; it’s a social commentary, a call to collective introspection. Tamara Kostresevic skillfully employs the medium of experimental film to navigate the intricacies of time, tradition, and societal evolution. As a curator, one cannot help but applaud her ability to transcend the boundaries of traditional narrative, compelling us to confront the often-overlooked consequences of our modern way of life. The film becomes a poignant reminder—a testament to the fragility of our cultural heritage and a challenge to reevaluate our role in the relentless passage of time.


Number of community members included in the project: 2

Reasons for participating in the “Magic Carpets” project: 

Each community member participated in the project primarily because they want their community to further enrich itself with cultural content and contribute to the general well-being. Additionally, they want to tell their stories and share their opinions on various topics with others. Individually, everyone has a desire to get closer to other community members, exchanging experiences and discussing ways to mutually ease some technical challenges in managing their businesses.