REBOOT is a laboratory that looks toward our culture’s production of waste as a point of departure for a critical engagement with technology. Our approach is rooted in the visual arts and is driven by our collective knowledge of process, materials, and experimentation; as well as a commitment to revealing the social, political, and cultural aspects of technology.
Through collaborations with artists and researchers at FSU and beyond, REBOOT projects cast a critical eye on technoculture and the logical consequences of the ways in which we produce, consume, and discard technology. This examination of the political components of technology occurs through a hands-on process of thinking and making, with the goal of provoking discussion and action that will bring about alternative, preferred futures.
FixShop is an art project that takes the form of a repair shop storefront. The shop accepts obsolete and outdated objects and transforms them into new devices with renewed purpose. Can a domestic appliance be reborn with the drive to challenge gender stereotypes? Can an office machine become a vehicle for poetry? Can last year’s smart phone provoke discussion about the politics of electronic waste?
In a culture where designed objects are produced to be increasingly opaque and disposable, the REBOOT lab views repair as an explicitly political act. Beyond the practical outcome of reducing waste, this project is intended to highlight the fact that the process of repairing anything can be a politically empowering and revelatory act for those involved. The FixShop project provides opportunities for ad-hoc researchers to use the wide variety of tools at our disposal to find novel and creative ways to transform objects that would otherwise be thrown away.
For FixShop researchers, the act of repairing is presented as more than a technical or problem-solving exercise. It is also an opportunity to—through critical and speculative (re)design—examine the roles of repair and the repairer in our consumer culture.
For the “customers” whom the repair shop services, the transformed objects provide opportunities to rethink consumer culture, including the drive to discard and replace objects that could otherwise afford a more personal and lasting connection, after some thoughtful redesign.
Artists are intimately connected with materials, often embodying an encyclopedic knowledge of their properties and behaviors. The work of an artist is inherently experimental, hands-on, and iterative. We are constantly working to devise simple and elegant solutions to complex problems. The DIY Resource Recovery project aims to put these skills and motivations to work on the task of developing methods for reusing and recovering waste materials at the small scales of the artist’s studio or workshop. The goal is to develop and document methods for converting would-be waste into useful materials for making. These solutions range from the practical to the strange; from simple direct machines to sculptures with a purpose. An implicit objective of the project is to discover and bring to the surface—through the hands-on process of making—the history of these materials, from the consumer desires that drive their production up to the moment of their discarding.
Photo by Ido Meirovich [CC BY 3.0]
Rob Duarte, Director REBOOT Laboratory
Carolyn Henne, Director Facility for Arts Research
George Boggs, Assistant Professor, School of Teacher Education
Denise Bookwalter, Associate Professor, Department of Art
Jeff Beekman, Assistant Professor, Department of Art
Robby Nowell, Studio Equipment Manager, Department of Art
Sarah Morell, UROP Student Researcher
Kevin Hernandez, UROP Student Researcher
Tali Nir, Volunteer Student Researcher
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