Our parasite, a continuation of last week’s assignment, takes on a more sinister personality, reflected by its color scheme and “acting” within the video. At the beginning, the host is seen smiling at the parasite, thinking it to be a colorful necklace. However, she expresses fear as the parasite slowly starts to rise, pausing a moment, as if its teasing her, before one by one, the tentacles clamp around her face. The tentacles react to the heavy breathing of the host, wrapping around her and getting tighter as her breathing grows more frantic. At the beginning of the video, we only see the parasite as a bright, colorful necklace. However, it’s when we see the parasite start to rise up and surround the host that we see its black underbelly. This symbolizes its duplicitous nature: when the parasite is waiting to ensnare the unsuspecting host, it pretends to be benign and colorful. However, after the parasite closes in on its prey, we can see that it is actually dark and malevolent. Overall, we succeeded in creating a mechanism that caused the tentacles to close around the host’s face, which was our unresolved goal from last week. 

In order to create this project, we wanted to give the creature more character and feel more suffocating its host. To start off, we wanted to give the parasite bright, attention-grabbing coloured arms so that human hosts would be attracted to the necklace-shaped object and want to place the parasite around their neck. We started by cutting strips of coloured fabric and tape in the shape of wiggly little appendages and attached them to the arms so the tops of the feelers were brightly colourful. Then we covered the bottom of the arms in shiny black tape to look ominous when the arms rise up to show the literal dark underbelly of the creatures. Then, in order to give the feelers a slow rise so that they can sneakily entrap their victim, we attached a string to the end of each feeler. Those strings went over Sunjana’s head to run along the length of an inflatable fan-shaped bubble (made with heat-sealed joints) so that when the bubble inflated the string would be pulled, allowing the feelers to rise higher and more ominously slowly than in our previous iteration of the project. So, the parasite’s movements are controlled through its “brain”, an air bag at the back of the neck. 

For our discoveries, we discovered that the positioning of the tubes within the inflatable made all the difference in how high the inflatable rose when we turned on the air valves. Additionally, we played with positioning the hinges in different ways in order to make the inflatables right up in the correct direction and suction itself to the host. Finally, for the inflatable “brain” at the nape of the neck, we experimented with the placement of the string on the inflatable and how it was attached to the neck in order to make it grow out of the neck (so as to bring the front inflatables directly up), ultimately deciding to fasten one of the ends of the inflatable to a piece of Sunjana’s hair while tucking it under a piece of elastic around Sunjana’s neck, and tuck the other end under a headband Sunjana was wearing. 

We had to use a lot of collaboration for this project, especially since there were so many  different elements to the project because we had six different inflatable pieces and used six different valves. Also a lot of our  work had to be done when Sunjana was already wearing the necklace and couldn’t really move or see what was happening so we often had to direct each other to activate parts of the different inflatables that only one of us could really access at a time. But since we both had similar levels of inexperience with inflatables we both were able to experiment with ideas and work on all the pieces since we weren’t limited by skills or past experiences.