There is nothing cuter than a puppy, that is, except maybe a baby. Both puppies and babies are constantly on top of their cute game. Just as a fuzzy golden retriever pops up from a laundry basket for the first time, a baby parries, falling asleep with a thumb in their mouth. It’s a dance, nay, a battle of two of the universe’s greatest masters of cuteness, playing out one drop of drool on the carpet at a time.
So what if you were to combine a baby with our canine companions? Wouldn’t you get the most adorable ball of heart mush of all time?
In a word, no, at least not according to Baby-Pet, by RCA student Lingxizhu Meng. Baby-Pet is a conceptual peek into our future, to a time when scientists have the capability to bring cross-species embryos to term and consumers demand the ultimate in helpless creatures without potty training.
“The discussions between should or should not we start to modify human gene was started many years ago. Compared to vague ideas or abstract imaginations, I wanted to make a detailed speculation of the future of science and marketing,” Meng tells Co.Design. “I am not just attempting to shock the public. This project is simply a question–since technologically this is entirely possible, what would people do if it actually happens?”
So Baby-Pet isn’t some Hollywood idealization of genetic splicing softened by oversized eyes and eternal innocence. Nor is it a horror film’s take on the matter, with a shadowy face that implies some inherent evil. Rather, Baby-Pet’s head is a scientifically sound cross between a human skull and a Pekingese, creating a newborn bone structure that looks a bit like a lovable oversized rat. Covered in long fur, Baby-Pet morphs into what appears to be a very tiny, old man, clothed in his own mustache. But appearances are only half of it. To be realistic about a canine-human hybrid, Meng also crossed personality. And it’s here that, while Baby-Pet may have the capacity to look cute sometimes, we realize its territorial nature would eventually betray that snuggly aesthetic with scary bared teeth.
“The Dog-Baby is not angry for no reason. It becomes angry when fighting with a dog,” Meng explains. “I want to show every aspect of this new creature, not just treat it as a display model. Anger is a natural emotion that appears in lots of intelligent animals.”
There’s still another aspect to living with Dog-Baby that you might not see in some infomercial from the future: How people and pets react to this uncanny creature. To gauge the social effects, Meng took Dog-Baby to the park.
“One baby stared at the model and started crying immediately,” Meng tells. “The dogs’ actions were even more interesting: They carefully observed the Dog-Baby and dropped back suddenly, barking furiously and running away quickly. They can also tell it is a new creature that they have never seen.”
So the babies and dogs were really pretty freaked out, huh? Well, maybe. Or maybe they were just jealous.
[Hat tip: Creative Applications]