Dina Amin

Photo via Instagram

Dina Amin is turning everyday gadgets into whimsical art.

Like most 26 year olds, Dina Amin is a little bit of everything. She’s worked in industrial design and social media. She’s been a graphic designer and a blogger. She’s also a CrossFit enthusiast and takes pole dancing lessons.

“I have my own pole,” Amin, who lives in Egypt, told the Daily Dot. “I bet you never saw a hijabi who poles.”

But like Amin’s cultural-recreational juxtaposition, Amin’s latest endeavor is a little different. She’s taking apart trash and reimagining it through stop-motion videos that she posts to Instagram. 

The series is called Tinker Friday, a name she said she crowd-sourced. The videos are quirky and fun, full of Amin’s creative personality and sense of humor. 

Amin grew up in a family of doctors in Egypt, then went to school for industrial design in Malaysia. “If I wasn’t going to be a doctor, I should be an engineer,” she joked to the Daily Dot about her family’s expectations.  

Pairing a love of art with a love of function, Tinker Friday showcases Amin’s design talents and natural curiosity. Every Friday she posts a new video that explores oft-overlooked objects—date pits, old phones, floppy disks—and tries to see them in a new, personified light. She also researches each object and discovers interesting facts, like those date pits being used to make coffee in some countries, and some American ATM machines still using floppy disks.

Tinker Friday began as a personal challenge, but in the eight months since Amin started, the project has taken off. Amin currently has over 3,000 Instagram followers and her videos often rack up over 1,000 views.

Amin sources her objects from family and friends while helping them declutter. Objects are then transformed into wacky people or animals, like a whimsical superhero or a tiny little footballer in a camera. Purl is her creation from an old cassette tape.

In Egypt, Amin explains, trash is not separated and there is no recycling, so there is a wealth of found garbage to explore. “Electronics are so cheap from China, people just throw [them] away and get a new one.”

Also, Amin explains that many modern products are not made to be fixed, so they can’t even be opened and picked apart. “We carry our phones with us 24/7, but we don’t even know what it looks like on the inside. That is a right that we, as users, have: to know our products.”

And it seems the Tinker videos have inspired others to get to know their electronics a little better. Amin says many have emailed her to share that they’ve opened up their gadgets to see what’s inside.

Amin might not see herself as an artist (“I’m a designer, because design is more practical”), but she acknowledges that “the more I make [the characters], I think maybe making someone smile is just as good as making something that works. Everything here in Egypt is going wrong, and people are walking around all depressed. It’s nice to make people smile.”

Because Amin’s against making waste, you can currently find all her creations living together in a dollhouse. (Pics coming soon.) 

“Every product was designed by a person,” Amin says. “But I feel so bad that we throw all of this away… I want people to actually look at what they have in their hands and think about it.”

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