LAB Procomum is a laboratory of citizen innovation in the center of Santos-Brazil, located in the neighbourhood of the city’s repair shops and flea markets. The Galpão Ateliê (“Workshop Warehouse”) – one of the spaces in the cultural center – was occupied by the Traquitanas e Invenções (“Conceptions and Inventions”) group, which brings together artists with over fifteen years of research into the possibilities of reusing materials for interventions, in order to draw attention to the problem of waste, and to motivate and inspire new imaginations. The workshop will approach a repair story to tell other repair stories. A warehouse that was abandoned and is in permanent use-repair: of its own structure and furniture, and also of its productions.
Traquitanas e Invenções Group, along with Fred Paulino (Gambiologia) and Felipe Fonseca (Reuse City).
Workshop will be held in Portuguese only, available to up 30 local participants only.
The third Tales of Care & Repair workshop in Brazil took place online on the Zoom platform with a duration of two hours, in partnership with Instituto Procomum, an NGO located in Santos (São Paulo state) with relevant social action in the city’s port region, aimed at defending citizen innovation, common goods through political action in communities and networks.
The workshop was publicized locally by the organization itself amongst its network of partners and was attended by 15 people. The original idea of the workshop was to encourage discussion around the idea of repair based on the inspiration of structural repairs of a warehouse in which some of the institution’s activities take place. From that, we would be able to collect stories for the project’s website and start the exploration of initial topics to compose the Brazilian Repair Declaration.
The warehouse is named Galpão Ateliê and it’s one of the spaces of the Lab Procomum. It was occupied by the Invenções & Traquitanas (“Inventions and Contraptions”) working group, formed by artists who work with the reuse of materials, in order to draw attention to the problem of waste, in addition to motivating and inspiring new ideas. The group adopted the warehouse and helped with its renovation, promoting the power of the space as a large workshop and multipurpose studio for the creative network that frequents the laboratory and which has repairs, makeshifts and reuse as their work’s DNA. The warehouse was abandoned until recently and is now in permanent repair: of its structure and furniture, as well as of its productions.
The purpose of the workshop was that it would be given by the members of the Invenções e Traquitanas group, presenting people and repair stories from the neighbourhood, under the supervision of Fred Paulino (coordinator of Tales of Care and Repair in Brazil) and Felipe Fonseca (researcher, advisor of the project in Brazil and member of the study group Conserta & Conta, resulting from the project’s actions in the country).
The workshop began with a brief presentation by Felipe Fonseca on current international studies and actions around repair, as well as a presentation of the Tales of Care & Repair project, its objectives and actions in Brazil, UK and India. Next, the Invenções & Traquitanas members Grilo and Mauro Fecco presented some inventions and repairs carried out by the group. In particular, a repair to a horse skeleton drew attention.
The following was given the floor to the guests for the meeting. A single participant, Mr. Ricardo Ratto, presented dozens of examples of repairs carried out in his home, which, according to him, is made up of “80% of things that were going to the trash can” – mostly upcycled utilitarians created by him. According to him, the pieces “gain sentimental value”. The musician Fabinho played a flute developed by himself using a PVC pipe, which is also a workshop project for children and young people. Other repair stories were presented by Victor, Adriano “Canjica” – creator of informal vehicles for commerce on the beach -, Marianno , Antônio – member of the Santos Hacker Club and one of the organizers of the local Repair Cafe, who showed the video of the repair of an antique toy he carried out for his grandfather and Marina, organizer of recycling actions at Instituto Procomum.
Regarding the collection of stories for the Tales of Care & Repair website, the workshop was disappointing. However, the discussion provided several useful insights to start drafting the Brazilian Repair Declaration. Some of them were:
The idea of autonomy related to repairs – as well as the alienation of more recent generations; the ease of fixing things that we invented ourselves; the related (and necessary) transdisciplinarity for carrying out repairs; notions of reuse, transformation of matter, techniques of makeshift and lower-classes knowledge; the importance of collective processes; the value of instruction manuals; possibilities for creating community tool libraries; how to better value people’s work; industrial populism derived from the maker culture and the production of low-cost objects by industry; the importance of stimulating education aimed at tools and materials in Brazilian schools; the sophistication of Brazilian regulation related to waste (National Policy on Solid Waste).
Among the examples presented during the workshop, we observed a certain confusion on the part of the participants regarding the difference between repairs, makeshifts (gambiarras) and upcycling – the three practices being often treated as synonyms. The differentiation between those practices was clarified during the conversation by Fred and Felipe.