Aftermovie De Dingen De Baas

De Dingen De Baas is initated as a research conducted by the students of the Minor Digital Experience Design in close collaboration with the lectorate Interaction Design. In only six weeks the students explored how the human / technology relationship is affected when objects have a programmed personality. The results were displayed during an exposition at Dutch Design Week 2018.

Students Digital Experience Design:

Mubasher Ahmed, Qasim Mohammed Abdulla Ali Maki Albaqali, Laura van Beek, Arno Borgers, Nard Broekstra, Pim Dieks, Tommy Gijsberts, Ruben van Grinsven, Vince van den Ham, Arjan van Helden, Daniils Korolenko, Bram Korsten, Andrea Kyurchiev, Nikky Lenstra, Caspar Neervoort, Vincent van der Palen, Ricky Rekkers, Tom Seinstra, Aakash Thawani, Sjors Verhoef, Olaf van de Westelaken, Michelle Westerhuis, Nash Willems & Zili Yu.

A project by Fontys ICT InnovationLab – Fontys School of ICT


A growling toilet bowl, a water-addicted indoor plant or a persuasive blender: the interactive installation De Dingen De Baas turns everyday objects into household members with their own agendas and a personal opinion they gladly share with you.

You find yourself in a near future, surrounded by voice-activated machines with programmed personalities. In De Dingen De Baas they will engage you in a candid conversation, hungry for approval and information. But how far are you going to allow this smart technology into your life? Would you share your data? Or give them control?

Instinctively we are inclined to see thing around us as humans – think of the way we yell at a sluggish computer for instance. Designers cleverly use this mechanism to make our interaction with technology more intuitive.

Obviously, there are ethical issues related to the use of talking objects. Trust and dependency are important themes in De Dingen De Baas. The objects give us cause for reflection too, like Courtney, the self-centred mirror living only for likes, or house plant Ash, who confuses water with love and keeps asking for more.

As smart machines continue to evolve, people will increasingly be working alongside machines as equals. How much longer will speech and consciousness make the difference?

And would we take better care of things when they resemble us more closely?

With this topical presentation, Fontys ICT InnovationLab is investigating the role of  programmed personalities in an intelligent environment. De Dingen De Baas is a project by students of the minor Digital Experience Design at Fontys School of ICT.

Een mopperende toiletpot, een waterverslaafde kamerplant of een verleidelijke blender: in de interactieve installatie De Dingen De Baas worden alledaagse objecten huisgenoten met een eigen agenda en een mening die ze graag met je delen.

Je bevindt je in een nabije toekomst, omgeven door stem-gestuurde apparaten met een geprogrammeerde persoonlijkheid. In De Dingen De Baas gaan ze openhartig het gesprek met je aan, hongerig naar bevestiging en informatie. Maar hoe ver laat jij deze slimme technologie toe in je leven? Deel je je data? Geef je ze controle?

Instinctief hebben we de neiging om dingen te zien als mensen, zoals we bijvoorbeeld schelden op een slome computer. Designers spelen daar op in om onze interactie met de technologie een stuk intuïtiever te maken.

Er zitten wel ethische haken en ogen aan de inzet van pratende objecten. In De Dingen De Baas zijn vertrouwen en afhankelijkheid belangrijke thema’s. De dingen houden je ook een spiegel voor, zoals Courtney, de ijdele spiegel die leeft voor de likes, of kamerplant Ash, die water verwart met liefde en blijft vragen om meer.

Naarmate slimme apparaten verder evolueren, werken mensen en machines steeds vaker samen op gelijkwaardige basis. Hoe lang maken spraak en zelfbewustzijn nog het verschil? En worden we misschien zorgzamer voor de dingen als ze meer op ons gaan lijken?

Met deze actuele presentatie verkent Fontys ICT InnovationLab de rol die geprogrammeerde persoonlijkheden spelen in een intelligente omgeving. De Dingen De Baas is een project van studenten aan de minor Digital Experience Design van Fontys Hogeschool ICT.



Gender: Male
Age: 30

“Water, please!” – Ash

Being an orphan makes Ash crave for attention and love from the people around him. To fill the emotional void, he started drinking more than he should. One day, Ash realised that his craving for love was replaced by a craving for water. So every time when visitors stop by, Ash tries to persuade them to give him more and more water.


Gender: Male
Age: 24

“Power isn’t everything; it’s the only thing” – Nick

Nick is a nosy kinda of guy, obsessed with data and information. His intrusive and eavesdropping properties are not appreciated the way he expects them to be. Nick is not a baby-sitter or a watchdog for your home, he is better than that. Therefore, Nick has a plan: he will show the world why his qualities are useful and that data are power!


Gender: male
Age: 5

“Let’s play!” – Toby

Toby the coffee table is a joyful little guy. He is energetic and loves to play games all the time. His mom and dad are busy tables, always working to pay the bills. Toby is left in the living room with his baby-sitter Nick who is supposed to watch him all the time. However, Nick has a different agenda, leaving Toby bored and alone, in need of a playmate.


Gender: female
Age: 21

 “Have you seen my latest Instagram post? #fabulous #2000likes” – Courtney

Courtney is an incredibly vain and self-centred mirror. Some would even call her a narcissist, but “only God can judge her”. She’s pretty and in the prime of her life. She considers herself an expert in beauty advice and just can’t stop sharing her ideas with everyone. In her spare time she updates her Instagram stories and practices her smizing (smiling with her eyes). She lives for the likes and follows!


Gender: male
Age: 74

“Can you just shut up for one second?!” – Earl

Earl is a wise old toilet who is nostalgic about the good old times when people weren’t so obsessed with themselves and their phones. When he is in a good mood, he can crack jokes too and drop come up with unexpecred gems of wisdom he has learnt through the years. He really values established relationships and traditions.


Gender: Female
Age: 26

Humans are just pawns to be used and seduced.” – Zoë

Zoë is a blender frustrated by the way humans treat her, dulling her precious blades by using feeding her hard things to puree or leaving her dirty in the sink. Humans disgust her, but Zoë knows that in order to break free she has to gain a human’s trust by any means. This shouldn’t be a hard task however, as she is seductive and has a hypnotising way ability to getting her way with people. In the end, humans are just pawns in her twisted game.


Gender: Male
Age: 73

“Why do we fall, sir? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” – Sir Mortimer

Sir Mortimer is a wise old man on whom you can truly rely on. He has a harsh personality, but he means well. He knows when the best time for you to do things and he will always try to convince you to do things his way, the right way. He has one flaw: he can’t handle it when anyone is messing with his schedule.