BRAVE FIXED WORLD (BFW)
Daniel Charny, Director at From Now On, London
The future needs a new relationship with making. A forward-thinking, backward-looking, sideways-stepping kind of making. A making born of the imaginative use of skills. Something like fixing.
The world we live in is shaped by the heroic successes of mechanisation and mass-production. The democratisation of access to goods and improved quality of life brought about by industrial production has come at a price. While the abundance of cheap standardised products strain our environment, we are distanced from the experience of making, so leaving many with the limited choices of buying new or doing nothing. This ‘Brave New World’ needs fixing.
The Fixhub prototype explores other options, those of repair or making things ourselves, showcasing what people do when they fix and what is the role of fixing in the future.
It proposes a platform for fixing in day to day life, building on models of public-facing makerspaces like the Fablabs and repair cafes. The aim is to offer access, experience, engagement and confidence in making, and in this case with a focus to inspire fixing and repair. In collaboration with the emerging Maker Library Network it further includes a library and a gallery.
The Gallery element looks at ‘fixes’ covering a range of activities, from fixing something that’s broken, celebrating the process, to tailoring something for personal use, and responses from avoiding repair, reducing the need, creating new options or sometimes accepting a modified behaviour. On occasion we find people exploiting or enhancing a break in original function or intent. From these examples the Fixhub invites debate and speculation on what our world may be like if fixing became the norm? What if it became a legal imperative or a sweeping social movement ?
Or following the Hypnopaedic slogans of Aldous Huxley that ‘The more stitches the less riches’ and that ‘Ending is better than mending’, what if fixing was banned ? What could go wrong ?
Whether you think of fixing as a utopian or a dystopian idea, as an essential opportunity or a sentimental backlash, it is part of our future. How much and in what way depends on how people, societies, organisations shape its environmental and cultural significance. Many minds need to be involved in making these plans and many more hands in enacting it. Design and designers could have a significant role in the stewardship of this Brave Fixed World.
The Fixhub is joining the emerging Maker Library Network (MLN), developed by the British Council ConnectZA programme, to connect young creatives in South Africa and the UK. The Lodz Design Festival Maker Library is the first pilot of the Fixhub model and aims to introduce and extend the MLN to new regions.
Partner of the exhibition: British Council