After watching this video, your memories of Teddy Ruxpin may never be the same. Artist Sean Hathaway has created an interactive multimedia installation using 1980s talking dolls to "effectively take the emotional temperature of the Internet."
Teddy Ruxpin was a phenomenon of the 1980s. The animatronic bear dolls were the top-selling toy of 1985 and 1986, speaking a handful of phrases and attempting to convey the sense of interactivity with their owners.
But in this video, the dolls, which are pinned to a wall, speak random phrases streamed from various social media sites.
"It's a celebration of communication. And our technological ability to be able to communicate every nuance of our lives with everyone in the world," Hathaway says. "But at the same time I think it's a tongue-in-cheek poke at the fact that we're not doing anything with all of that information that we're throwing out there."
The various sayings, at times morbid, uplifting and mildly not safe for work, encompass a broad range of emotions in the teddy bears' monotone robotic voices. And it's all set to soothing instrumental music by Hathaway's collaborator, Carlos Severe Marcelin.
"Literally every subtle increment on the scale of the human emotional condition is expressed but sadly due to the tremendous scale of information available many of these expressions are buried within a sea of noise," Hathaway writes on his YouTube page.
Some of the emotional phrases expressed by the Teddy Ruxpin dolls are:
- "I can't fight this feeling any longer, and yet I'm still afraid to let it flow."
- "I just want to feel like you love me."
- "I can feel all the nutrients doing happy things and making me energetic again."
- "I think it's weird how I say how I feel and nobody takes me seriously."
"The Internet, as an object, is sort of like a therapist, that just sort of nods and doesn't give you any advice back," Hathaway says.
And before you blame Hathaway for taking the iconic children's toy in a dark direction, check out one of the actual launch commercials for the toy in 1985, which created a direct connection to the classic horror film "Frankenstein."