Traces of Touch

serendipity into the oblivion


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Repair and modifications of object in todays society is often made impossible by the manufacturer by purpose. Putting big blobs of glue on ICs and using special screws is today more standard than an exception. Also the fact that many objects cost to little and is to easy to replace when they break a minor details also weigh in on the one time use society we live in. What incentives could there be for people to keep using their object over longer time letting the object mature and grow with them?

Back in Japan the art of fixing broken pottery called Kintsugi was highly honored and instead of trying to throw away the broken pottery cracks was enhanced with gold letting the use to be visible and appreciated. It went so far that people was breaking their brand new pottery just to get it fixed and get the desirable patina.

Melanie Drane writes this on the subject referencing her dad and the way he mended the  objects

My father accorded tenderness to the objects that served us. He monitored every wheeze, gasp and clank from appliances. He set the broken legs of tables, re-wired lamps, radios and toasters, and when I returned from college, I’d wake to find my shoes and purses polished and lined up in the hallway outside my room — as if he were preparing me, in the only way he could, to set forth again alone. His repair work was meditative. The methodical rituals of repair seemed driven by a bone-marrow memory of times when family survival depended upon keeping things whole.

As his daughter, I am still drawn to objects that bear the touch of human hands. In Tokyo for a decade, I foraged at flea markets, collecting imarii porcelain and pottery. I became fascinated bykintsugi, the Japanese craft of mending ceramics with gold lacquer resin, so cracks and fissures are transformed into a web of tiny golden veins. Exquisite gold maps spread across the landscape of a bowl. Kintsugi repairs leave the history of breakage visible, while rendering the piece unique and more precious. At times, I’ve wondered what might become possible if all experiences of breaking could be honored this way — if the wounds and wear of time were recognized as survival’s beauty.

Huffington Post

Also the Smithsonian made an exhibtion of this Kinjugi items

This notion of fixing and doing yourself (DIY) is growing steadily in todays society and I wonder where it will take us. We have places such as the Fixers collective where people can come and upcycle their objects or just repair them back to their original functionality. Is this a lash back on the stream of messages  we get covered in each day saying “Buy New and be COOL”. How does this relate to Dumpster Diving which is spreading as a virus in the class? Just looking around the studio Im sitting in just now I see more recycled and dumpster dived items than new ones and it is not just the fact that dumpster is free and we are students that creates this facts it is something of creating an environment of feeling at home which used objects radiates. Not sure where to take this but I think there is a  lot of things to bring with me when designing objects not just for the next 18 months but for the next 18 years.


Written by sjunnesson

July 6, 2010 at 15:05

Posted in Inspiration, Thoughts

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