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In this blog I want to explore two interrelated themes in the Fixperts story thus far: ownership of the ‘fixes’ (the outcomes of the collaborations), and their potential wider applicability beyond the collaboration through which they were generated. These two themes are related because if a fix is deemed to be successful, thoughts quickly turn to if and how it might be applied to other users and other scenarios.

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It was a turning point in the history of resistance to economic injustice. The first to lose their jobs were textile artisans, replaced with the newly industrialized looms and frames. A small group of them assembled and started to invade the factories, destroy machinery and burn some factories down. The group named themselves “luddites”, after Ned Ludd, a young man who allegedly destroyed a stocking frame in an act of madness, about thirty years earlier. In a few months, the protest spread throughout England.

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In 2009, the designer Thomas Thwaites undertook an expedition to make a mass manufactured toaster, himself, from scratch. It was called The Toaster Project, and his undertaking raised many questions about our ability to make the machines that we take for granted in our everyday lives. 

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When I first set about putting down some opening remarks about Readable Objects, the exhibition that we opened recently at The Aram Gallery, I found myself consistently getting tongue-tied.  Whilst words like ‘fix’ and ‘repair’ have taken on a new lease of life of late in a design context, they just didn’t seem the right fit for the work of Tomorrow’s Past. 

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Most broken things can be fixed, once you understand the problem. The problem might be simple, complicated or even complex, but some how it can be fixed.
The same way is true of solutions: these might be simple, complicated or complex - it all depends on what causes the problem and what is behind the it.


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The Japanese practice of kintsugi – gluing together pieces of a broken vessel with (gold) materials that emphasise the skilful nature of the repair – seems to epitomise the contemporary designer or artist’s approach to the task of repair. It is loud, communicable, and makes you aware of the hard work that went into solving the problem, much like Bouke de Vries’s work below.

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