For four weeks, in June 2013, a group of theater artists with experience working by hand with all kinds of objects and materials activated a Pop-Up Repair Shop, in Inwood, Manhattan. In a single month, the artists managed to repair an entire ton of broken goods brought in by the enthusiastic Inwood residents.
The one month business was actually the experimental first step in a larger research project initiated by Sandra Goldmark and Michael Banta, veteran professionals who teach and produce theater at Barnard College. Through their project the two artists intend to investigate people’s relationships with the objects they use every day, as well as to make a change in their habits of consumption and waste.
Sandra and Michael’s initiative produced an echo from the beginning. First they managed to raise more than $9,000 on IndieGoGo that helped them fund their first shop, while after the campaign the couple received an additional grant from Barnard College which they used for the collection of data from the project.
Ever since the project closed Sandra and Michael have been analyzing the results. They realized that people are attached by many of their goods and don’t like to throw them away, but in many cases are forced to do it. Nowadays it costs more to fix something broken, than it costs to buy something new. This is happening because manufacturers make products un-repairable and keep the new things at low prices to encourage buying.
At this moment Sandra and Michael are working on their plans to open other short-term Pop Up Repair shops in other cities. They are determined to encourage a national dialogue about consumption and to inspire change in people’s habits of consumption and waste.
What do you think about having a Pop Up Repair shop in your town too? If possible, what items would you like to fix?