Mark Hilkevich
Sustainable Fortress: Cats and Boxes
The following project will engage in the development of an online platform business idea focused on the relationship between house cats and cardboard boxes, in which the construction of a mobile site, a DIY guide, and an account on a social media platform will enable owners to make their own playground environments for their pets with the sizes and designs they need and want, while also making it fun and interactive. Research will be divided into two groups: data documenting cat behavior through recorded footage, observational sketches, and animations (primary sources), interactions with the negative space surrounding the cat (how the animal interacts with people, toys, household objects, etc), and the analysis of box assemblage, existing sizes and formats, the functionality of QR codes in relationship to the physical and online realms, and the construction of box forts tested out by cats of close peers to ensure further refinement. A website will serve as the ultimate phase communicating a clear step-by-step guide on how to assemble the fort, providing visuals and informational graphics. Considering the amount of shipped fiberboard boxes rising at an exponential rate (more than 2 billion), surpassing the number of house cats owned in the United States (more than 30 million), my intention is to tap into the recycled box system in order to make more playgrounds/forts that not only save waste, but also save money, giving pet owners the opportunity to make their own playful designs rather than purchase a limited number of expensive toys at stores such as PetCo.