She opened her toolbox. There was much to be done and she had to make sure she had the right equipment. Peeler, scraper, stuffer, colourer, stretcher, whizz bang, noodle doodle, yummster, curly whirly, basher, smoothly screw and stitch tight. Not the most up to date kit in town, but comprehensive. It would do the trick.
The 3D printer had nearly finished. The silicon-morpheme was three quarters life size. It was big enough to practice on but not so big that if it went wrong, the wastage would be too great to justify. Jenna was confident that she would have a successful outcome. She’d finished 4th in her class in the final year of S.T.A.K (structure, texture, aesthetics and kinetics) and was an experienced parlour primper, although she only worked Friday nights and Saturdays. For a part time job it paid OK, her clients were grateful and largely well behaved and she enjoyed the creativity and using colour and shape to enhance personality.
Taking the STAK course enabled her to take these skills to the next level. She had studied for 3 intense years and now she was ready to build an entire character, taking it from carefully carved template to a semi-sentient, locomotive, verbally viable caricature. Art and life in one. More biological robot than synthetic android but less human than A.I.. Her aim was to create a companion for her younger sister. A plaything. Loyal, fun, gentle and engaging with the ability to come up with ideas for games and stories. Attractive and charming, a character her sister would want to play with and would also want to show off to her friends. The creation of custom playmates with a relatively limited, and therefore cheaper, array of tools, software and gels was new to the home market. If Jenna could showcase her new skills and end-product to her sister’s friends they in turn might persuade their families to order bespoke caricatures for themselves.
The 3D printer beeped to alert her that it had finished creating the template. Jenna looked at the inert blank. It seemed to be anticipating the spark of life that she was preparing to give it. She knew she was stretching herself but she was so excited about what she was going to do next. She was well-aware that custom-made ‘living dolls’ was a tough market to break into. But she also knew that she had talent and, more than that, she was convinced that it was her understanding of the beauty of empathy that would really make her endeavour a success. She wasn’t just creating in the artistic sense, she was using her unique skills to make a sili-morph that was more than a plaything. With her input, it would be a character that could relate to its owner. It would have the potential not just to learn but also to teach, not just to play but also to enjoy, not just to accompany but also to be a friend to the human who had chosen it.
In Jenna’s mind this would be taking art to another level. She was challenging herself to identify, access and use all her creativity and imagination to make a character that was unlike anything that had been created before. It was a kind of giving birth. To make it happen she had to risk all her experience and energy, apply it, manipulate it and allow it to synthesize into something new. The caricature would be an impression of this new self. It would be part of her but she would also be part of it, as all the characters that came from her would be. With each creation she would evolve a little bit too, each time becoming more and more a part of her own creativity. More and more herself.