My grandfather was a television repair man when I was growing up. We would go to his shop sometimes, as kids, and I remember moving through the stacks of televisions, piled on top of each other. It was kind of like a maze you wove through, in and out and around television after television. It never looked any different inside the shop, it never seemed like the piles changed; either lessening or growing, they just stood. There was a back room that would have parts, tools, pieces; it was the first time I saw one of those circuity motherboards, which still fascinate me as an adult.
My grandparents had 8 kids. They always used things to their fullest. I remember a room at the back of their house that always had an unending pile of jeans, even after their kids grew up and left home. There were other materials back there too; a barrel full of my grandma’s yarn, fly tying tools, cupboards full of canning supplies. I loved being in the space. My grandma would make quilts of denim, or pot holders and knit her grandkids hats and gloves while my grandpa would tie flies and make venison jerky. I remain nostalgic about the life my grandparents lived and the warmth of a well-used home. While others played outside, I would sit in the room just to be around them, quietly listening, watching, sitting. In that space, you didn’t need to do or be anything, you could just be.
At some point things changed in the world and tvs stopped being repairable. As a culture, we stopped making them to be fixed and instead made our objects to be thrown away and replaced. All of a sudden you could simply buy a new one when anything broke, tore, or got a little dented. This change in material use impacted me, it took me a while to understand that it had happened and a while longer to mourn it. I spent my time at vintage shops, thrift stores and garage sales, hunting the used and discarded. The experience and memories of my grandpa’s shop and of their house imprinted in me an aesthetic and material ethic of repair. I find the marks of use on an object beautiful, just as I tend to feel the same about the marks of life on a body and ingrained in one’s face. It’s time, experience, use, showing through, telling a story.
The “I can fix it for you” project is both interactive and object based. I will fix things for people in exchange for the story of or a story about the object. The work will lie in somewhere between their connection to the object, my newly-forming connection and the future connection the audience will make. The efficacy of the repair will depend on the object and the object-presenter’s desire. The aesthetic will seek to highlight repair; the practicality of the repair is also dependent on the type of object and the interaction. I am offering my services to patch things, anything; to mend, repair, stitch back together whatever someone offers me.
In this project I will share my skills, I will treat every item as an artistic act and approach each person and work with aesthetic intentions. I will show the results as art objects and I will wear it as my clothing and sit on it as my couch. Art, for me is active, it is daily, it is not separate and is not a holy act. It is hidden within the day to day, sometimes found stitch by stitch and it invites interaction and conversation.
The process started in my home but I am now venturing to find people with objects that need repair. I will record the process through photo documentation as well as some video and audio recording. You can view photos of this project so far here.