Toy Extensions 

This project was a collaboration between Molly Wei and myself.

“We have an inherent desire to go beyond our capabilities, to push beyond our limits. We study to increase knowledge, make machines to produce more than we can with our own hands, create devices to go faster, see further, speak louder and, when our bodies refuse to do what we think they should, we find ways to supplement them and exceed our corporeal boundaries.”-  Lisa Le Feuvre, Extending bodies

The Wind Catcher

Toy Extensions began as the merge of two standards, “How to Apply False Strip Eyelashes at Home” and “Toy Safety”.   Through research, a workshop, ideation, materialization and a short film we were able to bring together a set of nine objects and a catalogue zine. We see the connection between the toy and the social prosthetic as cyclical, one constantly influencing the other from child to adulthood.

Some of the sketches of our concepts for this project

Our exploration of the link between both our topics began with us looking at the ways toys influence children. When researching this topic we read articles, spoke to parents and children and we saw how children could be highly influenced by the toys they were given. Toy Safety regulations focus on the physcial safety of people, in turn, omitting looking at how toys  might affect a person’s mental well being, self image etc. The influence toys have on persons using them can be profound. Steering them in specific career paths, altering their personalities and interests and shaping their lives in unexpected ways. Through our merging and materialization we wanted to think about the wider repercussions of toys.
In adulthood, we see the emergence of the social prosthetic. We use the term social prosthetic to represent objects like hair extensions, false nails, and false eyelashes etc. These objects are complex and multifaceted, they can be empowering, used for self-expression and self-care but they also represent the unobtainable beauty standards persons strive to reach. Physical objects that represent an attempt to reach aesthetic “perfection”.  Today, the beauty industry is worth 445 billion dollars, for many companies their marketing strategy is based on promoting unrealistic standards so then persons feel the need to buy their products.

Our objects attempt to alter people’s interpretation of the social prosthetics by making them more playful. We imagine a different world were these altered social prosthetics are used by persons to understand the world around them, just as children use toys to understand their world. They aim is disrupt beauty standards by utilizing playful techniques inspired by toys. We also speculate about the future where these objects are utilized and how this might in turn influence toy design and ultimately again social prosthetic design.

The Workshop

Our workshop was with children aged between 3-4 years old. We gave them a series of social prosthetics as well as craft materials to allow them to create their own extensions. It was important for us to get a chid’s pers

pective on the topic because we realised that both the social prosthetic and the toy were both dictated by the adult.  Find out more about the workshop in the catalogue, they are also some images below showing their work. 

Products & the catalogue

Take a look at the catalouge to learn more about our products and what they do HERE! In our catalogue you can also see more about our workshop and what the children made. 

BSI Standards Forum & Awards 2018

This work was also shown at the annual BSI Standards Forum & Awards 2018 at the Park Plaza London Riverbank. We were invited by the BSI to talk about o work with the guests of this event.