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Dissertation:

'Authorised Service Provider Only': Resistance Through Repair 2009-2015

Don’t ditch it, stitch it! Don’t end it, mend it!

In 2009, Platform21, a now defunct Danish design collective, released the ‘Repair Manifesto’, under the mantra “Stop Recycling, Start Repairing”, and with it, launched a global interest in rediscovering the art of repair. In the wake of the global economic crisis, and a growing concern over rising levels of waste, numerous repair communities emerged with the desire to reinstate repair as a valuable cultural, social, and sustainable practice. This project examined the ways in which these repair communities redefined repair as an act of performative resistance against the methods of production, consumption, and disposal that are central to our "throwaway society".

For this project I chose to focus predominantly on the repair of electronic goods. The way electronics are consumed in developed societies is becoming increasingly immaterial, focusing more on the software and data of a device than on its the internal composition or constituent parts. This has contributed to a highly disposable consumer market, where the average life span of a mobile phone is only 18 months. The resulting e-waste is often difficult, or even impossible, to recycle, and ends up being shipped to developing countries where its social and environmental impact is catastrophic. These communities seek to change our relationship with electronics, and electronic repair. In providing the knowledge, spaces and tools needed, they aim to make repair accessible for anyone.

Looking to the manifestos, products and platforms promoted by these communities, I wished to reveal the ways in which they have attempted to change not only the act of repair itself, but our cultural perception of it. In redefining repair as an open, engaging, and enjoyable practice, these communities offer a way to meaningfully engage, on a personal level, in issues that are global in scale.


Info

  • 'Authorised Service Provider Only': Resistance Through Repair 2009-2015

    Don’t ditch it, stitch it! Don’t end it, mend it! 

    In 2009, Platform21, a now defunct Danish design collective, released the ‘Repair Manifesto' under the mantra “Stop Recycling, Start Repairing”, and with it, launched a global interest in rediscovering the art of repair. In the wake of the global economic crisis, and a growing concern over rising levels of waste, numerous repair communities emerged with the desire to reinstate repair as a valuable cultural, social, and sustainable practice. This project examined the ways in which these repair communities redefined repair as an act of performative resistance against the methods of production, consumption, and disposal that are central to our "throwaway society".

    For this project, I chose to focus predominantly on the repair of electronic goods. The way electronics are consumed in developed societies is becoming increasingly immaterial, focusing more on the software and data of a device than on its the internal composition or constituent parts. This has contributed to a highly disposable consumer market where the average life span of a mobile phone is only 18 months. The resulting e-waste is often difficult, or even impossible, to recycle, and ends up being shipped to developing countries where its social and environmental impact is catastrophic. These communities seek to change our relationship with electronics, and electronic repair. In providing the knowledge, spaces and tools needed, they aim to make repair accessible to anyone. 

    Looking to the manifestos, products and platforms promoted by these communities, I wish to reveal the ways in which they have attempted to change not only the act of repair itself, but our cultural perception of it. In redefining repair as an open, engaging, and enjoyable practice, these communities offer a way to meaningfully engage, on a personal level, in issues that are global in scale.

  • Previous degrees

  • MA English Literature, University of Edinburgh, 2012
Royal College of Art Royal College
of Art Graduate
Exhibition

25 June –
5 July 2015

Royal College
of Art Graduate
Exhibition