Practical Aesthetics

As cultural practitioners, traditional healers in eastern Serbia collaborate with sick bodies to produce aesthetic schemas, which act as social interfaces between healers and the sick. By manipulating senses of time, sound, smell, and texture these healers materially transform sickness within sites of culturally sanctioned vulnerability. Based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork and the creation of collaborative performances with healers in rural Serbia and Macedonia, I argue that bajanje is neither an exotic nor magical practice, but instead thrives in the pedestrian realm, where healers negotiate illness and misfortune to provide vital futurities for subjugated rural communities.