In our difficult challenge to recreate the adult toy, as a group we needed to discover what exactly it was that adults wanted and how could replicate that want into something from their childhood. We had discovered there was some firm feelings of nostalgia associated with toys from childhood and knew we wanted to include that in our final design, however we still couldn't depart from the initial thoughts associated with the term 'adult toy'. Surely adults can experience pleasure through more than just sex?
We started to consider what 'pleasure' truly is and the truth is pleasure is purely subjective. Pleasure is a range of mental states that can include 'happiness, entertainment, enjoyment, ecstasy, euphoria' which can be derived from basic biological needs like eating, exercise, hygiene and, yes, you've guessed it, sex as well as cultural activities such as art, music, dancing, literature. The pleasure seems to be the reward of the things we do.
If the reward in a game is the victory, is the reward in a toy the pleasure of play?
There are a host of different interpretations for pleasure and a lot have trouble pin-pointing exactly what it is, most likely because it is a subjective concept, emotion or state. Philosophers such as Epicurus defined pleasure as the absence of suffering, Razi categorised pleasure into sensuous and intellectual and Schopenhauer saw pleasure as a negative sensation. The interpretation that stood out to me the most was Razi's who concluded that human needs and desires are endless, and because of the quote that stood alongside it 'their satisfaction is by definition impossible'. That word 'satisfaction' starting the cogs turning.
We all find different things satisfying and sometimes we even label them as 'oddly satisfying' as we cannot explain exactly what we enjoy. When I think of satisfying things, I am reminded of those videos, like the one below, that show glass blowing, wood turning, tactile objects, bright colours, rotating shapes, symmetry and a whole host of other random compilations that I find myself hypnotised watching.
I think of shows like How Its Made showing processes simultaneous repeated by machines created products that are all exactly alike.
I think of Planet Earth, David Attenborough’s soft-spoken voice, beautiful helicopter scenery shots of nature’s beauty, colours, shapes, close-up angles of creatures that I can almost feel their breath, touch their fur and am in the moment with them and we are the viewers are sharing that experience.
So why do these videos have millions of views? Is it the sensory satisfaction, the process, the visual colours, the movement, the symmetry, the vibrancy, the anticipation? As I mentioned early it would be hard to pin point exactly what it is that we find pleasurable in videos or images such as the ones presented because the pleasure is so subjective. Therefore, to create a product that is satisfying and considers these emotions we need to explore all aspects.
A successful adult toy for us, emulates the nostalgia of childhood but replicates the satisfaction we search for in adulthood. This should be interesting.
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