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Barbis: MIT Students Create Life-Sized Barbie-Themed TARDIS

    Barbis! In a clever and unexpected twist, a group of resourceful MIT students orchestrated a delightful surprise for the university’s president Sally Kornbluth. They ingeniously transformed her office by installing a life-sized TARDIS inspired by the iconic Barbie theme. The result was a whimsical fusion of two distinct but beloved universes, catching the school’s leader completely off guard with their creative ingenuity. This imaginative prank not only brought a sense of whimsy and amusement to the academic environment but also showcased the remarkable inventiveness of MIT’s student body.

    “Mirrors symbolize self-reflection; they remind us that the power to challenge societal norms rests with the viewers — the consumers of media — rather than those who shape it,” Diego Del Rio says. “Lights, too, reinforce this notion by creating an environment that illuminates and empowers. The infinity element signifies that without active intervention to change this corporate-driven stigma, the cycle of perpetuating an unattainable beauty standard will persist across time and space. The experience fosters a sense of empowerment, encouraging all to contribute to dismantling these ingrained beauty standards and embrace the inherent beauty that resides within us all.”

    Life-sized Barbie-themed TARDIS prompts reflections on social norms.

    “Barbis” consists of four walls constructed from polystyrene that are embedded with two infinity mirrors each, a roof, and a floor. “The hardest part of this project, and the feature we’re proudest of, is that the entire structure can be completely disassembled and quickly reassembled,” says Huda Abdelghani, one of the project’s student creators.

    “The new ‘Barbie’ movie sparked a massive cultural phenomenon,” shares first-year Diego Del Rio. “This brought attention to the problematic history associated with Mattel’s creation of Barbie dolls. On the outside, ‘Barbis’ appears as an imposing structure, a box filled with society’s beauty expectations and pressures. Stepping inside, however, our goal was to disrupt this narrative.” (source)