i3, une unité mixte de recherche CNRS (UMR 9217)

Institut Interdisciplinaire de l'Innovation

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Jérôme Denis and David Pontille receive the 2023 Architecture Book Prize
Posted on 22 November 2023

Deux personnes devant un pupître, l'une d'elle lit un discours

Jérôme Denis and David Pontille, i3 researchers, winners of the 2023 Architecture Book Prize for "Le soin des choses. Politiques de la maintenance".

What do a boiler, a car, a signpost, a smartphone, a cathedral, a work of art, a satellite, a washing machine, a bridge, a clock, a computer server, the body of an illustrious statesman, a tractor all have in common? Almost nothing, except that none of these things, large or small, precious or commonplace, lasts without some form of maintenance. Every object wears out, deteriorates, breaks down or even disappears. But how important is maintenance? A counterpoint to the contemporary obsession with innovation, less spectacular than the singular act of repair, this delicate art of making things last is rarely brought to our attention.
This book is an invitation to take a fresh look at maintenance and those who carry it out. Following the thread of different stories, the authors describe the subtleties of "taking care of things", highlighting the ethical stakes and political implications. By cultivating a sensitive attention to fragility and inventing a day-to-day material diplomacy that resists the frantic pace of programmed obsolescence and over-consumption, maintenance outlines the contours of a world far removed from the pretensions of human omnipotence and technological autonomy. A world where attachment to things is far less trivial than we might imagine.

Read the article of Journal du CNRS