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Object therapy

Break it? Remake it with Object Therapy

Andy Marks

“Part of Hotel Hotel’s Fix and Make series, Object Therapy, invites you to submit a broken or damaged object for repair by a leading artist or designer.”

I grew up wanting the latest.

The latest shoes, haircut, music, sunnies… if they were the latest, I wanted them. With two big sisters and a big brother as shop windows in to the world, I developed a laser sharp eye for the next big thing, and if I couldn’t buy it, I would make it or transform something to be like it.

Take the school trousers I sewed to make them in to drain pipes (now known as skinny fit), the latest style at the time. Not being very handy with a needle however meant that one leg unravelled making me the uncoolest kid at school that day, as sadly one skinny leg and one flared leg wasn’t the latest.

object therapy

Artwork by Guy Keulemans

It’s not surprising then that I ended up working in advertising in London, helping ensure Sony Playstations and Levi jeans were the latest thing. I have played my part in an accelerated consumer culture where new products hit the shelves in even faster cycles, making the latest the out-of-datest so we keep on buying.

This culture of disposability, with labels such as fast fashion and built-in obsolescence, means that around 68 million tonnes of waste is generated each year in Australia, equivalent to 2.8 tonnes per person*.

It clearly can’t go on like this with the effects on our planet being so painfully evident, and one of the many responses emerging or in this case re-emerging, is repair.

Be it ifixit the free repair guide for electronics, outdoor clothing brand Patagonia who repair more than 40,000 garments a year, or Repair, Remake, Swap where Canberrans can fix, re-imagine or swap clothes, repair is the latest thing. And now there is Object Therapy.

Image by Naomi Taplin

Artwork by Naomi Taplin

Part of Hotel Hotel’s Fix and Make series, Object Therapy, invites you to submit a broken or damaged object for repair by a leading artist or designer. It’s a research and design project created to help us rethink our consumption patterns and re-evaluate the broken objects that surround us.

Developed in collaboration with the Australian National University (ANU) and University of New South Wales (UNSW), 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.

object therapy

Artwork by Guy Keulemans

As part of undergoing ‘therapy’, participants will be asked to ‘let go’ of their object as the repair process may entail the appearance and even the function being transformed. All objects will then be collated to form a public exhibition at Hotel Hotel and in other cities. At the close of the exhibition series, objects will be returned to their owners.

the essentials

What: Object Therapy – submit a damaged or broken object
When: Deadline for submissions is Sunday 05 June
How: Fill in the application form at hotel-hotel.com.au/fixandmake/events/object-therapy
Cost: Free

*Source: Department of The Environment


Andy Marks

Andy Marks is Program Director of Fix and Make. He is a social entrepreneur and serial innovator who is drawn to the fault line where society, business, culture and sustainability meet. Andy believes the fixers and makers movements around the world are a force for positive change, re-skilling communities, supporting life long learning, stimulating the local economy, creating resilient networks and empowering us all to take back control of our possessions. More about the Author