Originally presented at Designworks #01 by Sophie Gannon Gallery as part of Melbourne Design Week 2017, Terra Rings and One White Cube has been acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria. This work is currently on show at NGV Australia on Federation Square, Melbourne.
The Japan Foundation, Sydney Level 4, Central Park 28 Broadway, Chippendale NSW 2008
Eizabeth's Knitting Needle Bracelet + Sky's Glass Ring
Object Therapy is a research and design project created to help us rethink our consumption patterns and reevaluate the broken objects that surround us. Developed in collaboration with Dr. Guy Keulemans of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Niklavs Rubenis of the Australian National University (ANU); the project is an investigation into the culture of ‘transformative’ repair as practiced by local, interstate and international artists and designers.
Often repaired objects are perceived as being of less value. Object Therapy seeks to challenge this preconception, celebrating repair as a creative process that can add value.
The exhibition features 30 broken or damaged objects (including one human!) that have undergone therapy – treated and ‘creatively’ repaired by a designer or artist.
The broken objects were collected via a call for entries that was open to anyone who had a broken or damaged piece that needed fixing. Participants dropped their objects off at Hotel Hotel and were video interviewed by a design researcher to better understand their relationship with the object and their perceptions of waste and repair. They were then asked to ‘let go’ of the item so that it could undergo ‘therapy’. Objects were then handed over to a designer or artist to repair. The design brief was loose – the appearance and also possibly the function of the object may have been totally transformed as a part of the repair process.
Designers and artists had six weeks to repair the object. At the point of being reunited with the object the owners were video interviewed again.
The Object Therapy exhibition includes the objects along with excerpts of the video interviews to form a practical study of repair and its possibilities – building a new body of knowledge around repair and the design process, and objects and their meaning.
Australian Design Centre 6 April – 7 June 2017 Noosa Regional Gallery 2 December 2017 – 21 January 2018 South Australian School of Art 15 February – 23 March 2018 Design Tasmania 6 July – 19 September 2018 Alcoa Mandurah Art Gallery 30 November – 13 January 2019 Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery 8 February – 7 April 2019 Manning Regional Art Gallery Taree 25 April - 2 June 2019 Lismore Regional Gallery 22 June – 8 September 2019 Tamworth Regional Gallery 20 September – 17 November 2019
Photo credits: Portraits of Elizatheth & Skye, as well as images of broken objects by Lee Grant.
“Jugaad is the Indian make do, with a slight twist. Jugaad is doing just enough with what you have, and it is also figuring it out as you go ~ improvising, rather than planning the direction forward.” – Trent Jansen
This Jugaad plate, designed by Trent Jansen in India in 2016 and made by Abbas Galwani, in Dharavi, Mumbai, broke en route to Australia. It is repaired with a small volume of rabbit-skin glue around the base, and on the sides and underside with hand made sterling silver staples cut from a late Georgian serving spoon. The spoon fragment was annealed and pulled through a half-round draw plate several times until it achieved the right shape and gauge recommended by C.S.M Parsons and F.H Curl, the authors of China Mending and Restoration (1963). This book, perhaps the most comprehensive text on traditional ceramic stapling, was written on the eve of the technique’s almost complete disappearance. It has been made obsolete by the widespread use of petrochemical synthetic glues and, in the West at least, the decline of repair industries and the rise of hyperconsummerist mentalities of ‘break and buy again’.
The repair might draw to mind global or colonial relations – a plate made in India, transported to Australia, repaired with English silver using an originally Chinese technique – but to us the project is a speculative design. It imagines a future world of unexpected energy poverty, in which synthetic glues are a thing of the past, metal ores depleted, old technologies resurrected by necessity, and the repair of a plate is more important than the use of a spoon. Given the far reaching consequences of petrochemical industry – not least the degradation of the oceans from plastic and the transformation of our climate from energy waste, we wish to ask: what can we do if we reject the products of oil and fossil fuel?
This work was shown at Nishi Gallery in part of the exhibition ‘Porosity Kabari‘, with works by Richard Goodwin, Trent Jansen and Ishan Khosla, in 2017 and is currently on show at the Australian Design Centre in Darlighurst.
Collaboration with Trent Jansen + Guy Keulemans
Photo Credit Photo at the bottom of this page by Lee Grant.