HYBRIDEX

A Research Project on Hybrid Experiences


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DIY culture

DIY culture 2DIY (do-it-yourself) culture refers to the larger movement of creating goods and services yourself, as opposed to simply buying them readymade. The culture stands in opposition both to the consumer society and the incompetence it creates.

Literally meaning “do it yourself,” the DIY ethic promotes the idea that anyone is capable of performing a variety of tasks rather than relying on paid specialists. The DIY ethic requires that the adherent seeks out the knowledge required to complete a given task. The term can refer to a variety of disciplines, including home improvement, first aid or creative works.

The roots of DIY culture can be traced to the industrial revolution and the birth of commercialism. During the following century, as the overproduction of goods and services steadily solidified a world order based on selling more and more, nearly everything has been made available for purchase. As the production has been industrialized and moved to larger institutions, the need for the consumer to craft anything herself has effectively been removed. As a counter phenomenon this development has urged many people to return to crafting and creating various things themselves, thus fighting apathy and the removed agency of such a culture. DIY includes also creating new things out of readymade objects, à la punk culture.

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48 hour Bebbu-experiment (SCORE game jam)

Bebbu was made on a game jam October, 2012 organized by a local gaming club SCORE at Tampere, Finland. He was ideated, designed, programmed and sewn in less than 48 hours.

Description of the prototype:
Bebbu is a hybrid toy, a smartphone slip-in plushie targeted to adults. He is a middle-aged plushie-monster that is bolding from more than one place. He would like to be a super-hero, but his life is so miserable, that the only place he can be happy, is when he is asleep. Player helps him stay happy with happy thoughts while he dreams. He features a naked butt that is covered with his super-hero-cape. When held on one hand, the user touches Bebbus butt.

Team:
Game design: Kati Alha
Toy design: Annakaisa Kultima
Graphic design: Ilkka Tauriainen
Programming: Juhani Hujala

The process (from the perspective of Annakaisa Kultima):

Friday

Very short period of ideating: I had been thinking to utilize jamming to Hybridex topics, so I pitched physical/digital concept with this character.

I went back home to get some supplies and my sewing machine.

I started with first prototype of the Hybbi slip-in doll.

22:30 We added “a butt-feature” to the character. It was first only a joke, but then very shortly decided to actually include it to the physical design.

Saturday

I brought more supplies and some inspirational stuff from the work (book of toys and similar product; Happy Happitat).

Sunday

During the night, I put together the toy: it was ready somewhere around 4am or later. I tidied the workstation & went back to home to sleep.

Came back to help with presentation (only 30 minutes time).

Kati improvised one last piece of the description while presenting: “Bebbu is bolding from not only one place”. It made sense.

The experience was fun, we learned a lot and it was also a good start for the experiments in this project.

Some lessons learned + notes:

  • We started with loose “Hybbi” fiction, but ended up with a character, that might be just a relative of Hybbi and changed his name to Bebbu.
  • Original Hybbi character was too “simple” to provide more tactile experiences with fur and all other surfaces.
  • Original Hybbi had too short hands for more fun character
  • Original Hybbi was too tamed/childish for adult audience
  • The game program ended up much more simple than original design was about.
  • The graphic designer did not work too iteratively and we had a too little time to sync the styles of physical and digital realms; the art ended up being slightly different than what I expected.
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Bebbu and iPhone.

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Inserting the iPhone.

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The bold butt of Bebbu – behind the cape.

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Limbs.

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The gameplay of Bebbu: push good thoughts into the brain, push bad thoughts outward. If too many bad thoughts gets into the head of Bebbu, he wakes up and screams.


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First moments with my Makie doll, Anna Marie

Summer 2012 I ordered my very first Makie doll from MakieLabs.

MakieLabs is a toy and games company developing “future-smashing toy: customisable, 3D-printed, locally made, and game-enabled”, unique ball-jointed dolls. MakieLabs is based in London.

I ordered my Anna Marie from the first alpha-batch. This is the first physical doll that I have bought on my adult age. The closest experience to Makies has been my history as an active The Sims player in the beginning of 2000. I can see some similarities in the fascination of this hobby over the digital/virtual craft.

Anna Marie is “born digital”. This means that you create an avatar, give her name and personality and then you can, if you wish, order her as 3D-printed fully functional doll.

Interestingly, there is something a bit scary in physical dolls. The first two nights I made sure that Anna Marie was in a comfortable position so that she would not get too mad at me, if at some point the scenario of Chucky would come to life. I know, it is a bit funny. But that happened. I guess there is something engaging in the process of creating something unique and then bringing her into life.

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Anna Marie came in a sleek tube. I liked this style!

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The first thing I saw was her pink hair. Pretty!

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Was not too happy with the first self-made clothing, but it was fun! On the background, you can also see her in her digital life.

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Work in progress. This sweater was not the best summer garment though…

Annakaisa Kultima, Researcher and Project Manager of Hybridex.