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Object Therapy


Object Therapy is a research and design project created to help us rethink our consumption patterns and reevaluate the broken objects that surround us. Developed in collaboration with Dr. Guy Keulemans of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Niklavs Rubenis of the Australian National University (ANU); the project is an investigation into the culture of ‘transformative’ repair as practiced by local, interstate and international artists and designers.

Often repaired objects are perceived as being of less value. Object Therapy seeks to challenge this preconception, celebrating repair as a creative process that can add value.


Object Therapy is an interesting and different project looking at the way we use and think about objects.

People were asked to contribute an object they had, but had broken, rendering it useable. Each person was interviewed about their object. Asking things like, what was the object used for, how did it come to break, where did they get the object. This process was really interesting as one of the artists tasked with repairing or re purposing one of these objects.

The object I was tasked with repurposing or repairing was a folding ruler, owned by Oscar Marks, age 7.

Oscar was asked in his interview about how the ruler came to break. Immediately I sensed a little guilt in his response, perhaps because it was his dad interviewing him, but he didn't seem too keen to elaborate on how it broke. It became a little clearer that it broke whilst being used in some other way than it was originally intended.

Immediately my mind went to how it might have been used - a light saber perhaps? A jousting stick? The critical centre structure for an instant sheet tent?

What was clear to me was the sense of play. Of course kids use their toys for all sorts of things that the manufacturer never intended them to be used for - that creativity is magic.

Actually, we all do it, re-purposing mundane objects to work how we need them to in that moment or to act as a temporary fix.



Keeping with the idea of play, I wanted to transform the broken ruler into a game or learning tool in some way keeping this wonderful sense of play that I got from Oscar. 

The bright bold colors were an instant attraction. I decided on dominos. The repeating ruler markings were a wonderful pattern against the bold colour.

Cutting each colour into sections, I allocated the usual number in dominos to a colour - ensuring the set would function just as a traditional set would.

Backed in nickel silver, each component was attached - pairing two pieces on each. Squared off, sanded and waxed - a new set of dominos was ready to be played. A new lease of life for this broken folding ruler.



The Object Therapy exhibition features 30 broken or damaged objects (including one human!) that have undergone therapy – treated and ‘creatively’ repaired by a designer or artist.
Opening 6pm Friday 14th October
HotelHotel, Canberra