Welcome to pavleheidler.wordpress.com. My name is pavleheidler. I was born in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a conglomerate of six socialist republics that does not exist any longer. I was born into a family of Bosnians, Serbs, and Croatians. My immediate family inhabited the territory of the newly-formed, never before outspokenly nationalistic Republic of Croatia. At least that’s the impression I got from my grandparents. Later in life, things were not as smooth. My first primary school textbook had in it printed the Cyrillic alphabet. I wanted to study it first because it was another alphabet, second because that was the alphabet used by my grandparents. The teacher apologised, she was not allowed to teach me it. I finally learned Cyrillic in my great-grandmother’s house, off the calendar hanging off her wall.
My given name is Orthodox, Croatia is a Catholic county. When I was ten years old, my given name inspired a nun to inform me I was going to burn in hell because of it. My surname is Austrian. Mine is the only family carrying the legacy of this surname on the territory of ex-Yugoslavia. My nationality is Croatian. The people of my generation, whilst born in Yugoslavia, were not permitted to keep our nationality of origin. And so I too was made Croatian. I never identified as Croatian. I never identified as Bosnian or Serb either. The impression I always got from my immediate environment was that nationality didn’t matter, as long as one was doing their best to be a decent person.
My behaviours never reflected any of the stereotypical behaviours assigned to people of the same sex. This wasn’t a problem when I was a young child, that is before I was expected to make the adjustments necessary to be recognised a well socialised child. Person. I wanted to be recognised as well socialised, I was always interested in having access to culture. The one seemed to be leading to the other. I was never good at compromising, however. I could never deny that I “saw through” people who were “keeping up appearances,” and I could never justify myself doing the same. I was taught not to lie. “Keeping up appearances” always felt like lying. It was not until I read Gender Trouble that I started aquiring language with which to address the inconsistencies I saw in the fabric of reality. I left Croatia at the age of seventeen and have since lived in Austria, Belgium, and Sweden. Ever since I left Croatia, which is almost half of my life ago, I haven’t been fluent in the language that was the mother tongue of most everyone around me. For the longest time I thought I was eventually going to speak those languages. Now I think I’m keeping myself at bay as a choice. By refusing to assimilate, by keeping myself a little bit of a foreigner I affirm that most prominent of feelings I’ve always had, that I am foreign. A human, perhaps. A gender non-conforming queer celestial, an excitable visitor, a temporary planetary wonder. Here to help, at your service, definitely.
There is a levelling I appreciate in spelling my name as a code, as one work, sans capitalisation. I appreciate there being a signifier that can lead one’s attention to me, that can signify my presence, existence, or involvement. I like that signifier to be a single whole. Somehow that is reflective of how I feel in my body, a single hole made of a combination of smaller wholes; like word made of letters, none of which gets to stand taller than the next.
This website is currently under construction. Once it’s constructed, I’m sure, the continual process of re-construction is going to commence. If it’s true that it all comes down to the stories we tell, I am definitely one for continual re-telling of the one and the same story. This might come across in the work that I do. Both in the fact that even though I do many different types of work, I am continually working on one and the same thing – which, I think, is the notion of performativity – and in the fact that most of the works I find give me a sense of purpose will, in one way or another, be simple but poetic.
I am currently imagining this website as an axis, something of a virtual midline, a focal point of sorts from which you’d be able to find, if you were so inclined, your way around. You will see that a lot of work I do relates to works of other people. My aim is to document the connections well. In case you’d find that the links don’t work, that names are misspelled or missing – please, let me know.
May 12, 2018