Fix and Make
You can buy thousands of units of something from somewhere in the world. This is necessary to an extent for today’s populations. But still, we are anxious. Who made those thousand units? Did we really need to order that many? And what do these things even mean to us when we don’t really know anything about them? Fix and Make is a series of workshops and talks that explores these anxieties. Through the practical, the experimental and the philosophical the program brought different people together to actively questions our relationship with and consumption of objects. Fix and Make invited individuals to reconnect with their hands. It encouraged new learning through doing. Through the process of fixing and making we reckon we can gain a better understanding of how things work and apply this knowledge to other areas of life: to solve our own problems; to take control of our own resources; to break our dependence on manufacturers who create products with built-in obsolescence. The annual program,running throughout 2016, brought together more than 60 collaborators to lead workshops and contribute to discussions from fields as diverse as neuroscience, art, design and craft, food, education, music, psychology and the environment.
Make Do: Utility Wear, Fix and Make, 2017
During World War II, the British Government introduced the Utility Scheme CC41. The scheme encouraged clothing manufacturers throughout the UK to use cloth supplied by the government. The style of the items was regulated. Straight cuts and slim silhouettes with no embellishments and unnecessary pleats maximised the number of items that could be cut from the cloth and minimized waste by reducing offcuts. While these austerity measures created some hostility, they saved millions of metres of fabric and clothed thousands of people in a time of extreme scarcity.
Leaping from the CC41 scheme, Annie Wu of Articles of Clothing, taught participants how to create unconventional patterns for functional garments that reduce waste. Participants created templates for a contemporary utilitarian uniform (that can be worn everyday). This workshops encouraged us to think about how we might dress ourselves differently and explored alternative ways of making and repairing things. It Through it we were able to consider the objects and raw materials that already surround us in new ways.
Make Do: Jugaad, Fix and Make, 2017
For this workshop, design anthropologist, Trent Jansen taught the ad hoc making and repair process of ‘Jugaad’ – the Indian notion of doing just enough with what you have on hand and figuring it out as you go. Over three hours, workshop participants improvised with approaches to object making and repair based on what’s around and current moods. Alongside Trent, Canberra-based artists Jeremy Lepisto and Jacquie Bradley helped with workarounds, problem solving and to share their making knowledge.
Make a Swarm Trap, Fix and Make, 2016
At this workshop participants made their very own swarm trap from a selection of reclaimed materials to take home and install with the hope of providing shelter to a bee colony. Guided by Honey Fingers and MANY MANY participants learnt about bees, swarming, swarm traps, and the best time and locations to install them. In collaboration with Hotel Hotel’s resident beekeepers they learnt what to do if they did attract a colony, including how to protect bees’ complex architecture including wax and comb.
Ghost Net Weaving, Fix and Make, 2016
This workshop was a chance to learn about traditional weaving techniques from artists from the Torres Strait. Facilitated by Lynnette Griffiths, the Artistic Director of Erub Arts, this workshop was run in conjunction with Melanie Katsalidis from Pieces of Eight. Together participants made a large-scale woven artwork from ghost net – harmful fishing nets that have been discarded in the ocean by fisherman – while learning about traditional culture and weaving techniques.
Invent an Instrument, Fix and Make, 2016
Artist Dylan Martorell taught children how to make an instrument. But, not just any instrument – a conductive percussion instrument made from household waste that is connected to a computer robotics system. Hello. This workshop redefined what we can do with our own rubbish with a bit (okay a lot) of imagination. Children assembled their own instruments, installed an immersive sound environment and then played music together as a robotic orchestra. Our friends at Canberra’s Blue Gum Community School were on hand to help students realise the incredible.
How to Make Toys from Trash, Fix and Make, 2016
How to Make Camp Furniture with Dale Hardiman, Fix and Make, 2016
For the Love of Things, Fix and Make, 2016
Department stores, strip malls, online shops, arcades, shopping centres… Our urban landscapes and digital worlds are filled with places that are filled with things for us to buy. Things that we don’t even have room for – our love of things means that 75% of people can’t even park in their own garages!
This panel lifted the lid on why we buy, the impact both bad and good, and how our purchasing decisions are influenced. The diverse and distinguished panel that tackled this issue comprised of hoarding and obsessive-compulsive disorders specialist Professor Mike Kyrios, product designer with a social conscience Russel Koskela, craft and design authority Avi Amesbury and environmentalist and circular economy expert Tim Silverwood. The event was moderated by Genevieve Jacobs of ABC 666.
Making as Meditation: Chopsticks, Fix and Make, 2016
Tom Skeehan guided participants as they whittled their own long-life chopsticks by hand from salvaged wood while listening to a gentle reading of Jun’ichirō Tanizaki’s ‘In Praise of Shadows’, an essay on Japanese aesthetics.
19 Objects: New Ways to Value, Fix and Make, 2015
Objects. Why do we collect them, fetishise them, display them in our personal spaces? What can they tell us about our existence: our past, our future. How can they tell a story about who we are? The curators responsible for the precise vision of Hotel Hotel, Nectar Efkarpidis, Ken Neale and Don Cameron, took audiences on an archaeological dig of their personal archives — delving into their (sometimes unhealthy) obsessions for 19 objects. The conversation provided a unique insight into the curatorial approaches of three very unconventional collectors and curators — presenting new ways for finding value and meaning in the often overlooked and disregarded objects that surround us.
Ownership of Things, Fix and Make, 2015
This panel brought together a neuroscientist, a designer, an entrepreneur and an historian to explore the concept of ownership, the sharing economy and collaborative consumption. Our panellist tackled the big issues: Are we hard-wired to acquire things? Is there a link between ownership and personal satisfaction? Is ownership a myth? Can sharing make us happy?