Keulemans, G and Rubenis, N, The community of transformative repair, Proceedings of the 3rd Product Lifetime and the Environment Conference, 18-20 September 2019, Berlin, pp. 439-450. ISBN 9783798331259 (2019) [Refereed Conference Paper]
Transformative repair is repair that transforms the appearance, function or significance of an object, categorising a broad and open-ended collection of techniques for the material conservation of objects beyond conventional repair. Detailing aspects of the research project Transformative Repair & Perception Research, this paper argues transformative repair can be framed as a type of generative design. Generative aspects result from the engagement of professional product designers, architects and craftspeople in reparative response to the mix of practical and contextual information presented by broken and obsolete products. Repair can be understood to be a generative system from a number of different perspectives: at the local level in which a repairer must process (repair) the output (damage) of a generative event (a break), or at a repair-scenario level, in which designers respond to contextual relations, such as personal significance, history of use, and cultural or commercial notions of value. Deleuze and Guattari's concept of the rhizome (1987) is used to interrogate these processes. Several case studies are illustrated, including the transformations of ceramics, textile and glass objects. The proposal that creative forms of repair and reuse can be conceptually understood as a novelty generating transformative craft that minimises material waste is discussed in relation to how qualitative and quantitative evaluative criteria for transformative repair may be developed.