The object before you is a toy made in 2035 by a local artisan maker in the Sydney region. It is a bespoke creation made from cardboard exemplifying the techniques for toy production used at this time.
Between 2020 and 2025 the Covid-19 pandemic remained an issue in Australian society. A focus was placed on local communities and mechanisms that could make them self-sufficient, such as the encouragement of artisanal products made in the community. At the same time, mental health and the benefits of cohesive communities became national issues, and between 2023 and 2025 many town centres were redeveloped, allowing for more outdoor public spaces for workshops and markets that enabled artisans to sell their products.
This toy was a product of a market and was made for a young boy named Jeff (as evidenced by the name on the foot). This toy was designed for Jeff and designed to be recoloured, repurposed and eventually recycled. This item is of particular value as the owner is none other than Jeff Hope, the internationally renowned Sydney-based designer, whose pioneering approach to cardboard wearables revolutionised the fashion world.
Jeff's work is vivid and bright and I am sure you will all agree very striking. He chooses to work with sustainable materials and does so across mediums - from large installations to clothes and accessories. He has worked on installation and public art projects for clients including the City of Sydney, the Queen Victoria Building (QVB), Heaps Gay and Spilt Milk Music festival and dressed performers such as Montaigne, Thelma Plum, Haiku Hands, Nina Las Vegas and Handsome.
After reading the survey responses there were a few points that were my jumping off point/inspiration.
It's about the children and their approach to making connections with people and interacting in society. Every child is seen as an opportunity for a playmate.
Kaleidoscope of diversity. "Normal" will be an "olden days" word. No concept of exclusion.
Some key works were opportunity, limitless, change, children.
From here I was inspired by the idea of a kaleidoscope (infinite images) and eventually went down a rabbit hole of children's toys. Toys can be a powerful tool for teaching lessons to children. They can also help develop their imagination. I really liked the idea of toys that are handmade, surreal and are even created in part by the child.
So I then thought what would toys look like in 2050?
I began to build my narrative around the idea that society will (as a result of Covid-19) begin to regress and focus more on the local community. Buying local, using what we have available to them etc. In a way simplifying to start to build a more meaningful connection to the things and people that are in our lives.
So what is the object...at this minute?
A cardboard toy robot/person. I want to play off the idea of what toys are now in 2020. Mass produced, plastic, high turnover, gimmicks, marketing opportunities for big business. This toy is made by a local maker in the owners community. Made sustainably and with personalised features requested by the child. Rainbow colours, spikey hair and freckles, rain in colour. It can be the "every person" in the child's toy collection. I like the idea it could even inspire the child to make their own toys. Beginning their connection to materials/play and the creative process. Make the toys you want to see and use.
I have attached a concept image, a sketch book image and some of the inspiration images. Over the next week I'm going to be working on the construction method and making sure I can make it the way I see it in my head.
Exhibit Evolution : Week 2
My robot toy is coming along well. I have somehow managed to have the head, legs and arms moveable. Which is amazing! because I had reservations that they would be too fragile/hard to construct.
Now the process of painting and doing extra details are happening over the next week.
I also need to give him a name. At the moment I am thinking Kaleidoscope...