THE COVID outbreak has left many of us having to spend extended periods of time at home in lockdown, restricting the opportunity to socialise and play in ways that we are used to. How can we design something, using only objects commonly found in the house, that will enable people to play at home during lockdown? 

Machines Of Bits And Bobs, And The Exquisite Monsters They Create is an amalgamation of multiple suspended mobiles composed of everyday objects found in the house; a “dangling conversation” (to quote Simon & Garfunkel) of forks, and socks, and locks. Each mobile has, amongst the floating paraphernalia, one (or more) light source which casts the shadows of the objects upon the surrounding surfaces. Depending on the proximity between object and light, the shadow may appear enlarged and distorted, sometimes unrecognised. 

In this game of bits and bobs, players each create a mobile fashioned out of any items found at home – cacti, empty wine bottles, an unwanted sock, ping pong balls, toys, clothes hangers. The possibilities are endless, as long as a light source is included. The various mobiles are then suspended together on a common scaffold, creating an interplay between the lights, objects and shadows. This way, the objects that are already made strange in the form of shadows are made even more fickle, more mutable, more whimsical as shadows merge, superimpose, combine and weave together.

KIT LIST: string, thread, rope, clothes hangers, fishing rod, chopsticks, whisk, kettle, toy train, tennis racket, hat, an annoying alarm clock, Jr’s favourite aeroplane model, light bulbs, pegs, colander, torch lights, squash ball, tennis ball, basketball, wine bottles, socks, an apple that’s gone bad... it’s honestly up to you.


HOW TO PLAY: There is no one way to play this game. It can be a shadow theatre, where participants gather around and make stories up from the shadows. Or it can be a Rorschach-ian game of shadow-spotting (like cloud-spotting) where participants conjure images out of the moving shadows. Or it can just be a backdrop in the dining room, a dazzling companion of light and shadow during these unpredictable times.

EXHIBITIONS
DUTCH DESIGN WEEK 2020
VIRTUAL GROUP EXHIBIT (SELECTED)
2020.10.17–2020.10.25

PUBLICATIONS
PLAYHOUSE BOOK, 2020
ORGANISED AND PUBLISHED BY:
PLAYGROUND DESIGN STUDIO, BEN CLARK DESIGN, BARNEY IBBOTSON ILLUSTRATION