All first dates should probably involve two people assembling Ikea furniture together. The Swedish furniture monolith already has a reputation as an endurance-testing place for couples to visit, but actually putting together the company’s particle board dressers is what proves whether two people are compatible. It’s a task that involves cooperation, communication, diligence, and keeping one’s cool–all useful abilities in dating. Those abilities are not often associated with psilocybin mushrooms, however.
Hikea is a YouTube master class in inebriated craftsmanship. Created by Hunter Fine, a creative at Wieden & Kennedy New York, and Alex Taylor, a freelance creative director formerly of BBDO New York, the new video channel explores the awesomely random antics of–what else?—people assembling Ikea furniture while gakked to high heaven on all manner drugs.
The idea came from the pair’s personal experience putting furniture together. The portmanteau, “Hikea,” emerged from a conversation one day, and instantly seemed like one of those light bulb eureka moments coveted throughout all creative industries.
“We knew we had something there and thought it would be a fun social experiment to pair different drugs with different pieces of furniture,” Fine says. “Because building Ikea furniture is such a universal rite of passage and a struggle we all know, it seemed naturally relatable to amplify the degree if difficulty with something a little stronger.”
The fun of Hikea is watching people in altered states attempting a chore that vexes even the most stone cold sober among us. Every few years, there’s a new photography project about what people look like on various drugs, but the first two episodes of Hikea give us more insight into who people are when they’re on drugs. In the first episode, GIANCARLO & NICOLE + LSD, they are people who take nearly four hours to put together a tiny cabinet, but laugh their faces off while doing so. It will be interesting to see in future episodes how drugs enhance the very real and common problem of Ikea accidentally including an extra nut or bolt, leaving the builder uncertain whether they screwed up. Not that Co.Create has any personal grievances there.
When Fine and Taylor started putting the idea in place, they thought the most challenging part would be finding people willing to participate. After putting an ad up on Craigslist, though, they quickly discovered a lot of people were immediately interested in taking drugs and building things.
“The actual production was pretty bizarre. Going into people’s homes is always unexpected and a little strange. We’d have to move a lot of stuff to get the production equipment in there. And the shoots would always start interesting with the people introducing themselves, their drug histories, then actually taking and experiencing the drugs. But then the building would begin and sometimes nothing would happen for an hour at a time while they just sat there staring at the instructions. So we’d have to prompt them a bit to talk about what they were thinking.”
Other than dazing out, the only problematic behavior that’s emerged so far in Hikea’s brief history is that the subject of episode 2, the psilocybin-addled Keith, just wandered off for about a half-hour, worrying the creators a great deal. When he returned, however, he simply drank some orange juice, made a drawer and called it a day.
Although Fine and Taylor originally made the series as kind of a lark, the channel has gotten such a positive response so far, they say they “may have to make some more.” Lucky for them, and for us, there are nearly as many schedule 1 narcotics out there as there are kinds of dombås.