Better Toys

by | Oct 25, 2022 | Artwork #2: Appropriate

Appropriation Game Rules:

Collect toys or items intended for your pet’s use, which either your pet does not use, or has used to a point of destruction.

Sit with another player (they are welcome to bring their own objects to incorporate) and lay out all of the objects in front of you.

Collaborate with the other player to repurpose the objects by using them to create a new pet toy.

Take turns with the other player, each either incorporating one item at a time, using your turn to change an existing item’s position or to change an item’s shape (cut, break, or other). Order can be determined beforehand or organically by whoever is inspired first.

Once all of the items have been incorporated, the game is over.

If your pet plays with your creation, you win!

By Sophie Uldry

Artist’s Statement:

In my continued journey to conjure artworks, projects, and games somehow related to cats, I have turned to the toys associated with them. Though I later generalized it to be a game playable with any pet, “Better Toys” is a game partially inspired by my cats’ favorite and least favorite toys, and my urge to throw the unused toys away. The said unused toys are still perfectly usable, so what better way to reuse these toys than to transform them and give the new toy back to the pets? To better explain, “Better Toys” is a game in which two players collect items of their pets (unused or disliked items are encouraged), work together to combine all of the toys or items into a new toy, and put the new toy to the test against your pet. If your pet plays with the newly made toy, you win! The point of the game is obviously to have fun with friends and pets, but also to bring attention to the fact that anything can be a toy, and buying fancy ones is often unnecessary for your pet’s purposes. For example, I had bought a puffy bell toy for my cat which never got used, instead she tore the shoelaces off of some old pair of converse I was planning on throwing away which have since become the preferred toys by far.

Now that I’ve sufficiently accredited my cats as my inspiration, I turn to my main inspiration for this game: Duchamp and his ready-mades. For his ready-mades (like the Hat Rack from 1917 and Bottle Rack from 1914), Duchamp would take completely common or uninteresting industrial goods, and display them in a boring, “useless” and non practical way. He contested beauty in this way, which frustrated him as he found over time all of his displays would end up perceived as beautiful. I’ve strived to use Duchamp’s same process for a different inverted purpose of turning the useless into something useful. The finished product should turn out to be unique from other pet toys, but still share the same initial purpose of the toy, transforming it in the opposite way that Duchamp meant to transform his works. See below for some examples of iterations for this game!


New toy created by classmates given items my cats show little interest in.

Cat immediately interested, sniffing, and scratching.

Cat integrating himself into the finished product created by classmates… They win!


Second iteration, items collected, setup completed.

Cat interacting with second completed toy… Victory here as well!