Charlene and Katie this year formed a business called ‘Play-o-logy’. Play-o-logy aims to teach children complex science through play and the first step in their business plan for world domination has been landing an inflatable digestive system in our degree show. It is hard to know what to say about them without being a bit over the top – how inspiring their determination to realise their ideas is, how it is so great that their project has a purpose and a place in the world, how definitely fun it is to experience their work. We’ve interviewed them separately on the blog but not together, so here ya go! They’re not lying in their interview when they say they’re the bossy ones…
How did this happen?
Charlene: We were friends before we started working together… but at first, at the beginning of this year, we were both really secretive with our ideas, because we’re quite competitive, I think in the class we are very similar in terms of our work. We were set a course project called ‘play-learn’ where we had to explain a factual subject in a playful way…
Katie: We went away and didn’t talk…
C: …for months…
K: …and then came back and realised our ideas were exactly the same anyway so we decided to work together. We’d already worked together on the group ‘Shop’ project in second year, which went well.
C: We ‘clicked’ at that point, didn’t we? We knew we’d be good at working together because we were both the bossy ones.
K: You’re the bossy one!
C: You are as well!
K: Yeah…It was quite weird how we both ended up on this course in the first place, as we both did different courses at first which we didn’t like. And then our boyfriends lived together. But we applied to Camberwell without meeting each other first! Maybe it was fate…
What led to the inflatable digestive system?
K: The play-learn brief really suited us. We were really ambitious with our initial ideas, and then realised if we did it together, we might be able to achieve it. Although, at first we did want to make a playground with slides, spinning clockwork towers, an oesophagus roller coaster… and a mouth that actually chews the people that go in… then we realised we don’t have millions of pounds.
C: And that we were being a little crazy.
K: The social side of the project has been important from the beginning too – that it had a purpose in the world outside of art school. It’s something we really wanted to push from the beginning of the project. Making a play tool that we could take to schools and use in workshops to get children interested in science. Our dissertations were really important in learning theory behind play – how play can be beneficial and I guess that really influenced the thinking behind the whole idea.
C: We want it to be playful mostly though.You have to touch it and interact. It’s not so obvious at first… from the outside you can’t really tell what’s going on really, just that there’s a mouth and a bum-hole.
What’s the worst thing that’s happened during the project?
C: When we started getting quotes for inflatables.
K: They were around £7,000 to £10,000! The transition phase between these amazing ideas, and then having to start thinking about how they could work within a degree show and beyond that in schools and other public places, the practical side of making everything work was scary.
C: There was an awful point when we didn’t know it would be delivered in time.
K: That was a definite freakout moment right at the end.
What’s the best thing that’s happened?
K: Our friendship… ha ha ha!
You can hear them explaining some more about their project in this video on crane.tv!