Made, with Love
Everyday Without You Feels Like A Lifetime
Connection during quarantine has become digitalized and distant. During lost jobs and health scares, comforting without contact over Zoom or other technologies has been difficult and impersonal. As the world fell apart, all I wanted to do is be with my friends. Instead of running over to them like I wanted, I used my energy from my anxieties to make them things that bring them comfort and laughter.
A Soft Object for a Soft Heart
Before quarantine, I created Guy: a personal companion for when I feel alone. During those times, when I need my friends help the most, I believe I can't ask for comfort because my evil peanut brain convinces me I'm despised. In preparation for future predicaments, I sat down with a few of my closest friends and talked about our friendship. After each session, we told each other how much we loved the other and took the other's pulse. I then put these heartbeats inside of Guy using vibration motors and an Arduino to give me comfort when I feel the most alone.
During quarantine, Guy became a way to be with my friends when physical contact was impossible. As much virtual activities as we did, nothing could replace physically being with each other. Virtual contact visualized physicality, but couldn't replicate it. Guy was a temporary fix. As I held him, I felt the presence and love of my friends stored inside.
A Single Good Thing
My friend had gotten another job rejection. I wanted to run out and be with her like I normally would, but I couldn't. I needed to do something to comfort her, so I created a handheld Guy out of scrap fabric and electronics I found at home, except with my own heartbeat embedded inside. Although I couldn't be with her in person, at least she would have some bit of me with her at home.
Kit for a Digital Heartbeat
While creating the little Guy, another friend was creating an embroidery piece of us together. To add to this, I gave her a "Guy Kit." This contained instructions, materials, and tools to make her own Guy out of any material she chose. I drove up with my Guy to her to drop off the package and to talk ten feet apart.
I created more kits to be sent out and assembled by friends. As quarantine gets extended, I'm not sure when I'll see or hug them next. For the next few weeks, I hope this will do.
Works in Progress
As quarantine continues, this work also continues through the kits and Guys my friends make. This page will continue to update as completed Guys start coming in. If you'd like to make your own, follow the instructions here.
These Guys would not exist if it were not for the amazing chemical mix of mental health inside my brain, as well as:
Jeff Thompson, for being my advisor
Nancy Nowacek, for being a pseudo therapist
Chris Manzione, for guiding the capstone class
Stas Wingate-Piccolomini, for editing and shooting pics of me