Image: photo by Antonio Ranesi
This past July, Susan Yelavich wrote a two-part essay on the philosophy of repair entitled Making Repairs, Making (Environmental) Amends. Professor Yelavich discusses the mindset of modern day consumers and their socially-conditioned gravitation towards the “new.” Society has instilled the idea that shopping equals patriotism; thus, giving secondhand objects a negative connotation. In this regard, the majority of people would prefer brand-new items than receiving or keeping hand-me downs. Yelavich argues that the relationship between person and object has diminished. Objects become less valued; it is easier to replace or throw-away something than fixing the item. While sustainable design gravitates towards making things last, it is impractical because people will continue to change their furniture, clothes, or cars even if it is in perfect working order. Susan Yelavich proposes a solution for this disposable, material lifestyle. If one learns to fix and repair our objects, a relationship is reestablished. The user would prolong the object’s lifespan, adding value back to the relationship between the two. Objects could become personal once again. There is a reason why a hand-made wood bench is much more cherished and cared for than the mass-manufactured one sold at a Macy’s or Ikea.
Left: Image courtesy of Junky Styling