Usbek & Rica – “Maintenance involves acting now, without waiting for breakthrough innovation”

Usbek & Rica - "Maintenance involves acting now, without waiting for breakthrough innovation"

In the countries of the South and the poorer regions and neighborhoods, there is a keener awareness of the fragility of things. Result: everyone, including the user or consumer, feels “obligated” and contributes to taking care collectively. A form of commitment and interdependence is created, which the film tells very nicely Gagarinin which a young man takes care of the dilapidated plumbing, the infiltrations, the failing electricity of a city of Ivry-sur-Seine, hoping that the latter escapes its programmed destruction.

Maintenance does not overshadow innovation or repair. (…) They are intimately linked “, you write. The book goes against the idea that maintenance and progress are opposed…

Absolutely. Maintenance is not synonymous with status quo or conservatism. To preserve an object, to make it last, you have to change aspects of it, transform parts of it, and therefore innovate. This is the case, for example, in the telephone repair workshops in Kampala, Uganda, where workarounds are set up on the motherboard itself which render certain functions of the smartphone unusable in order to save its mission. principal, namely to telephone.

In a completely different field, we can cite the example of the Mona Lisa: slowing down the aging of the painting involves methods of confinement that play on the humidity rate, the purification of the air, the stabilization of the temperature or the use to LED diode lighting which artificially “restores” the colors of the canvas. In the past, it was also necessary to apply layers of varnish, or varnish glue, which changed its initial state. Similarly, to aim for “eternal” or near-permanence, Lenin’s body was chemically injected almost weekly, and several organs had to be removed. To keep it “identical”, it must therefore be transformed, made to evolve to make it last.

That’s one of the parallels you see between taking care of things and the care

Yes, there is this common idea of ​​considering wear, fragility, breakage as normal. Therefore, the care of things does not aspire to keep a nickel object, and the care of the patient does not aim to regain perfect health: the goal, on the contrary, is to accompany the permanent transformation.

The other lesson of care depends on listening to the patient, taking into account that he will be recalcitrant, that he will not take all his medication or will not apply all the prescribed care… For the maintainers, it’s the same principle: the thing isn’t always going to react the way you expect, there’s no standardized protocol, no one right way to do it. You erase graffiti every day and suddenly one of them resists. You have to show pragmatism, adjustment, tact and accept not to control everything. In both cases, the patient – ​​like the object – embarks, transforms the caregiver as the maintainer, by brutalizing the body or by pushing it to develop its expertise, its knowledge. They must therefore be ready for dialogue, for dancing, for diplomacy with those they accompany.

Finally, the last similarity, the care, as maintenance involves joint work. Everyone does a little care daily – or at least regularly: Users, maintainers or repairers for one, the entourage and caregivers for the other. Nothing lasts alone.

You also question the assumption that maintenance is de facto ecological…

Attention, we do not question the fact that not constantly throwing away, making it last longer or not replacing is synonymous with less production and therefore has a positive ecological impact. But our ambition was to show the pluralism of the situations: there is also a whole maintenance that is not “clean” or good from an environmental point of view.

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