In her 2011 book, cultural analyst Sherry Turkle famously coined the term Alone Together to describe the potentially detrimental impact that our constant connection to others through electronic devices and social media can have on our lives. Last year, she came out with another book called Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, in which she argues that conversation is the antidote to our overexposure to communication technology.
This "Alone Together Cosplay Set" is a tool for manifesting Turkle's advice in a cosplay scenario. Each participant wears a laptop mask with a face on it, and a sock puppet with the face of the person with which they're video chatting on it. The masks and puppets are meant to combine Turkle's observations by recreating the familiar experience of communicating through electronic devices in a totally offline setting.
This tutorial is written as a set of guidelines for anyone who is interested in making their own version of this project. This project requires some sewing experience and approximation of specifications.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
- Colorful Fabric
- Sewing Machine
- Sewing Pins
Step 2: Design
- Design the images that you'll put on the masks and puppets.
- Make sure that each mask matches a puppet and that the image in the corner of each mask corresponds to the life-sized face on the other mask.
- Consider simplifying your imagery to focus on one specific signifier for each individual, such as a beard or long hair.
Step 3: The Puppets
- Choose a pair of socks that you don't mind parting with.
- Pull a sock over one of your hands so that the ankle of the sock is over your knuckles.
- Push the excess toes of the sock inside out to create the mouth of your puppet.
- Mark where the mouth begins and ends and then stitch a strip of dark fabric over that area. This will be the inside of the mouth.
- Continue to decorate your puppet to match the image on your mask, including a couple of buttons for eyes :)
Step 4: The Masks
- The masks consist of two pieces: the keyboard, and the screen.
- Make the keyboard and screen separately, allowing for room to sew them together when you're done.
- Start by cutting out a piece of fabric for the face on the screen and make eye and mouth holes in it.
- Using a sewing machine, appliqué the face onto a larger piece of rectangular fabric and cut an oval out of it for the eye and mouth holes.
- Decorate the screen with details of the face and background, including the face from the other mask in the corner.
- Pin the finished screen to another rectangle of fabric, leaving room for the screen to fit over your head.
- Sew the two rectangles together with the piece of fabric turned face down against each other, then turn the screen right-side out so that the seams are in the inside.
- Repeat this process for the keyboard and then sew the two pieces together.
- Consider cutting pieces of cardboard to slide inside the keyboards and screens to make them more rigid.
Step 5: The Cure
Connect with another person IRL and enjoy!