When new is not better: the making of home through holding on to objects
Tomas Errazuriz (Universidad Andres Bello)
Paper short abstract:
By looking into an old house inhabited by her owner since 1950, this research aims to analyze the "long life cycle" of objects and its relationship with the making of home. Particularly interest is given to the stages of this cycle: arrival, maintenance, repair, storage, reuse, forgetting, and disposal.
Paper long abstract:
Not many years ago in Santiago-Chile, it was a great deal to buy a brand new refrigerator, a new carpet, or the latest drill. Prices were significantly higher and the availability and variety was generally reduced to a few stores in Santiago´s commercial district. Additionally, purchasing was an exceptional practice in a domestic economy where it was common to owe things that were second hand, exchanged, inherit, found, self-produced, re-adapted or received as a gift. Furthermore, low purchase frequency was in direct association with objects that were usually designed, produced and, maintained for a long life cycle. Today, changes in the market and new consumption practices have dramatically shortened the path from new to obsolescence, and multiplied the amount of objects passing through our houses. Although disposal and replacement are seen as new critical paradigms of contemporary life, subaltern practices holding on to old domestic objects, still remain strongly among elder generations and territories remote from capitalism. By looking into an old house located in downtown Santiago, inhabited by her owner since the 1950s, this research aims to analyze objects characterized by a long life cycle, and their relationship with the making of home. Particularly interest is given to the different stages of this cycle, from the object's arrival to everyday practices of maintenance, repair, storage, reuse, forgetting, and disposal. The study suggests that each of these particular phases constantly reinterprets and transforms the relationship between the house, the objects and the residents.
Repairing the periphery