I’ve Sunk Thousands Into My Art History Major, You’re Not Allowed To Disagree With Me.
Realistically, DIY fans aren’t likely for you to turn to 5-Minute Crafts for inspiration. The infamous YouTube channel serves as more of a meme generator than an actual life-hack account; those familiar with the account will know that most projects actually cause more hindrance than they do good. However, I want us to consider the possibility that we’re missing the true meaning, the artistic complexity and the surrealist underpinnings put forth by 5 Minute Crafts. What follows will be a series of visual analyses on the most cursed offerings on their YouTube channel, attempting to convince you, dear reader, of the creative merit behind the monstrosities on offer.
Human Centipede Baby
Human Centipede Baby is an attempt at a DIY Halloween decoration that has absolutely stolen my heart. Look at the attention to detail: the pumpkin head, the creepy crawlies, the unidentifiable green goo— – if I were to guess, I’d say the artist had this concept brewing and developing for a long time.
Bringing in my art history background, I’d say this piece is inherently surrealist in nature. The bodily fragmentation suggests engagement with Freud’s theory of the unconscious, drawing upon suppressed anxieties relating to conformity and subverting ideas of rationality. In fact, the sleep-paralysis-demon-looking baby can be read as a physical manifestation of Freud’s concept of the ‘id,’ as its monstrous form would not be enabled with interference from the ego. Want me to cite sources on this? Too bad, dude.
Completely Normal, Functional Footwear That Definitely Won’t Stick to the Floor
One thing I noticed while trawling through the 5 Minute Crafts YouTube channel is their very obvious, Tarantino-esque preoccupation with feet. Honestly, you can barely get through two ‘crafts’ without a close-up of someone getting their dogs out. While I had plenty of foot-related content to work with, nothing tops the wearability of these (super functional!) slippers made from menstrual pads.
This piece brings to mind the work of Meret Oppenheimer, a famous surrealist artist working in the 1900s (R.I.P Meret, you would’ve loved DIY YouTube videos). Her famous sculpture of a fuzzy teacup titled ‘Luncheon in Fur,’ demonstrates engagement with cross-categorisation, multisensory contradictions and convulsive beauty. The team at 5 Minute Crafts presents similar themes by subverting the ‘private’ nature of menstrual products and presenting them as a fashion statement. There’s definitely a feminist reading here, but I’m constricted by the word count, and I really don’t want to think about these sandals any longer than I have to.
How could I not include Corkscrew-Dick Ken in the year of the Barbie Movie? My favourite thing about this project is that they clearly had a fully functional corkscrew lying around, but made the conscious decision to make it weird by adding dolls to the mix. Not only would this be super creepy to break out at a dinner party, but it seems way less functional (which seems to be a recurring element for 5-Minute Crafts).
However, if we look at this as an art piece rather than a red flag you might find at a dodgy Tinder date’s house, it can be read as a cutting social commentary. Raising questions such as “Is a man’s usefulness dependeant on whether he be slangin’ it?” and “How can men measure up to this toxic reflection of peak male performance?” The project emphasises the difficulty for men to be ‘kenough’ in our vapid, shallow society.
Personally, I think we’re looking at 5 Minute Crafts all wrong. As DIY projects, they’re completely useless. Yet, as art pieces, they’re embedded with societal critiques and surrealist ideologies. Put them in a gallery setting, and I guarantee you that they’ll be given the credit they deserve. Is this a ridiculous thesis? Perhaps. Do you have the grounds to disagree with me? Not unless you’re also 80% through an art history degree (there aren’t many job prospects in my field, so please let me have this).