Arin Han, “Incomplete Repair Kit”

Laser cut wooden box with muslin cover


screen-printed instruction manual on muslin, 3 needle-felted tools


Contents of the instruction manual


Artist: Arin Han (Chicago, IL)

Title: Incomplete Repair Kit (2012)

Medium/technique(s): needle felted, screen-printed on muslin, wooden box

Dimensions, open: 11.5 x 25 x 2″

Dimensions, closed: 11.5 x 12.5 x 2″


Artist Statement:

I moved to Chicago from Seoul in 2008. Even though I stepped into a bigger world, the displacement of my body made me explore personal spaces more deeply, especially domestic spaces. Furthermore, 3 water leaks that I had from my toilet tank, kitchen sink, and refrigerator forced me to look deeper into hidden domestic spaces, unraveling the false security of systems around me.

The plumbing system is an essential water supply and a waste disposal system at the same time. It becomes an extension of our bodies, mostly unnoticed. According to Heidegger, “we understand tools by using them; only when they are broken do they reveal their authority, forcing us to encounter our dependence”. My experiences of becoming a handy person, dealing with my hidden, broken domestic water system, became a moment of meaningful awakening and recognition of the physical reality of this system.

By reproducing parts of my domestic water system and their matching tools, with handmade and fragile materials and construction and by twisting contents ironically, I hope, first, to honor these systems while revealing our reliance on what are ultimately vulnerable systems with a limited lifespan. The authority of the hardness and solidity of these household structures is subverted by my working process of stitching, paper-making and needle-felting with soft materials like paper pulp, frayed threads and wool fleece.