80 Teddy Ruxpins Become Creepy Voice of the Internet!

Posted by Tony on June 27th, 2012

Many of you might remember Teddy Ruxpin as something of a tech marvel of the 80s. Teddy Ruxpin was like having your own Disney animatronic as a kid. Insert a cassette tape into his back, press play and Teddy Ruxpin would lip-sync to recordings of stories featuring his adventures…or to any of your favorite bands…or to Eddie Murphy’s Raw standup act. Any audio you could pipe into him, he’d lip-sync to.

Teddy Ruxpin is back…in probably the oddest, almost creepiest way possible…an art installation that reads posts from Twitter out loud.

Eighty Teddy Ruxpin’s have been wired and attached to a wall by Sean Hathaway as part of an installation called TED ( “Transformations, Emotional Deconstruction” ).

Here’s Hathaway’s explanation taken from his official site:

TED is a large, wall-based installation consisting of an array of 80 Teddy Ruxpin dolls that speak emotional content gathered from the web via synthetic speech with animated mouths. The speaking of the emotional content is accompanied by one of twenty-four musical vignettes that have been paired to the emotional content being spoken. Each vignette, representing one of twenty-four subtle variants of human emotion, have been composed in such a way that the beginnings and ends of the short pieces will seamlessly dogleg in any possible configuration and stream endlessly as a unified whole. The installation is allowed to drift about freely through the emotional landscape being driven only by those who are contributing content to the piece whether unwittingly or consciously. As such the overall presentation of the piece can vary greatly based on external conditions such as seasons, world events and even time of day.

Hathaway also states that, “The piece is essentially taking the instantaneous emotional pulse of the internet and this collective pulse, like a human pulse, varies over time,”

Below is a video of the installation at work.

Just don’t watch it before you lay your little precious head down for the night…it’ll probably change your pulse as well…but not in a good way.

[DigitalTrends]

  • Ken

    The resemblance of the Hell scene from What Dreams May Come is uncanny.  Just a bunch of body-less heads talking superficial nonsense (tried unsuccessfully to find scene on youtube).

  • Penguin Empire

    I actually really liked the exhibit. I wish I could get a chance to see it live. Very clever. I’m kind of wish he had done something with the board the dolls were on. Either make it less obvious (black paint, matte) or maybe lexan (clear plastic) to make it absent). I think visually as a piece it wasn’t as well thought out, or maybe he was conscious of his decision, who knows… still the background could’ve lent  something to the whole of the display but he didn’t use it very well. It was creepy in that ‘uncanny valley’ way.