While human-computer interaction research in the area of repair has largely been concerned with designing for extended life-cycles of technology, countering planned obsolescence, reuse or re-purposing, and celebrating repair as a creative act, design to support maintenance and care is still highly under-explored. This project approaches the discourse on longevity and sustainability with a unique lens by investigating the relationship between myself and my bicycle, as maintenance and care are central to my personal investment in its permanence.
Rep(AIR) is an olfactory interface that brings attention to wear and breakage on a bicycle as part of an autobiographical design inquiry, culminating in 12 days of bicycle touring with Rep(AIR), to uncover qualities of the relationship between humans and objects as they relate to breakage and repair.
The analysis of this inquiry extends the discourse on repair to include moments of wear, maintenance, and care as a part of the ongoing process of everyday use; recenters functionality to the human-object team, rather than the object alone; highlights teamwork and collaboration as a way to challenge the hierarchical human-object narrative; and shows the role of Rep(AIR) as a tool which gave the bicycle a voice—revealing the often uncommunicated experience of wear and tear on an object.

Collaborators: This project began as an independent study with Dominic Muren and Audrey Desjardins.

Key, C., and Desjardins, A. (2019)
Rep(Air): An Olfactory Interface For Bike Maintenance and Care. In Proc. of the 4th Biennial Research Through Design Conference, RtD 2019.
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