reclaim futures - things are people too
"Animism had endowed things with souls; industrialism makes souls into things." - Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno
The text circles around notions of care for the material and more specifically for the objects that we surround ourselves with. Ontological design derives from Heidegger how we not only design objects, but also how these objects design our ontologies. Consumer electronics became steady companions in our life. Not only do we interact with them on a regular base, they also accompany us throughout the day. We could call them companion objects, following Donna Haraway's concept of companion species — electronics and people, who are bonded in significant otherness.
These electronic objects are highly designed and branded experiences, to be consumed and discarded. They gift us a membership of specific cultural demographics. They're not made to last, unlike you would expect from an expensive kitchen knife or a pair of good shoes. Their frictionless design makes them easily replaceable, which also expresses itself in the sheer unrepairability. Following this lines of thought, design practices disable not only the care for the object, but also our understanding of the importance to care for the material.
Consumer electronics become mediators of ontological affordances.
Repair practices break this dependence on exploitative entities. They root us firmly back into the material. Alternative ways of caring for companion objects are also found in shintoistic practice. This is exemplified by Hari-Kuyō, a burial festival for broken-needles, in which these are honored for their services and then recycled. Animistic epistemologies enable us to level the ontological field and create social ties to objects. These epistemologies then enable different ways to care and respect the material. In the light of the environmental impact of electronics, cared for and long-living companion objects seem to be a desirable alternative.