Designing for the Unreal World

Thomas Thwaites website

Toaster project

Made a toaster from scratch (eg. iron ore) for his RCA MA degree show in 2009 (and he's still talking about it) Begins with the fantasy of self-sufficiency, could you make it on a desert island.

Toaster parts Disassembled the toaster (what a good image)

How do you make steel?

You talk to a man at the Royal College of Mines phoned up the nearest iron mine to london, can I come down and get some iron ore to make a toaster? Got philosophical in the mines

Dragged a suitcase full of iron ore back to London, looked for a recipe to make metal from rock. Eventuall went back to the 16th century books to understand how to make a furnace with really basic technology

when i callled up the iron mine i didnt know i would give a talk later, show how important it is to document everything, the project relly became about the story melted the iron cake the microwave, went through 4 went to wales for a copper mine, got water with copper dissolved in it that i could electrolyte out melt and cast plugs

scotland mica mine

talked to a bp pr guy to get oil to make plastic from. The point of the project was really to email people

you can make plastic from potato starch (failure) concept of athropocene, we live in a new geological age, whats in the roc thats laid down in that age? theres plastic in it, can i not mine plastic bearing rock in the same way i mined for copper?

went to a plastic resycling company

carved a mold for the plastic case out of wood

project was realyly one failture after another, the project became weaving that failture into a compelling story

the point was to create an object to create debate, critical design, speculative design sort of the opposite of industrial design how do we move to a real sustainable worl where we don't go live in a cave

More recent projects!

south korea virtua; reality documentary from the future about the present looking at grainy films from the past, imagining what it would be like if you lived in the 19th centre what will people 200 yrs from now thinl about vr films trying to provoke a new way of looking at the modern day, looking at ourselves with fresh eyes film is a mixture of mundane facts, voicover gettng things wrong

Design museum

designers shape onkects and places and processes to reflect the vlalues and the identity of those who use them

its not that simple, theres afeedback loop between design and identity, design creates identity creates design

how do tools shape us@ google auto complete quantified self, tracking yourself with data science

proposing a new startup slash religion based on a babylonian god named nebo, who controlled peoples fate by wrtiting it down made w wifi router that would start to control what you could do and see on the internet set top boc that wout let you wtc thingswallet that decides wht you buy

it becomes hared an harder to propse a design fiction as reality moves so wuickly

Took care of this dog DREAM

its better to be a human disatisfied than a pig satisfied

but that sounds quite cool, take a holiday from being a human sounds like a childish dream, but wrote quite a serious application to the wellcome trust got 30 grand for it in terms of taking a vacation from being a concious human, elephant are a bed target (they live in families and things) saw a shaman in copenhagen who told him to beocome a goat becoming an animal wasnt a new idea, shamans have been doing this since early history oldest piece of figurateive art the lion man again people becoming animals forever what's going to be my contribution to this ongoing desire spoe to a goat psychologists mai difference between us and most animals is aility to imagine past and present transcranial magnetic stimultaion, interrupt electric activity in your brain so you can switch parts off got this guy to turn off his speec ability

next thing was how do I make my body into that of a goat

slide 1 slide 2

royal vetenary college dude who worked on big dog walking robot slide 3 humans and all sorts of creatures share anatomy bc we evolved from the same ancestor weird to see animals go from recongnizable animal to recognixable cut of meat slide 3


goats can live off grass bc they have an extra stomach. made a prosthetic extra stomach, silicone bag that had goat bacteria in it, chew grass, have bacteria digest it, then eat what coems out of that

this early robot arm dude goat man, how i toook aholiday from being human

qs toaster goat, v different outcomes similar processes one of theose things you only realise after simple yet turns out impossible goal

crossing disciplines going thoruugh failures telling a story at the same time they are in away the same structure, same design journey, maybe it is a question

team? who was taking the photos weirf thing that doesnt come out in the media. even though it seems ridiculous, there is a serious undercurrent in the work. looking at the world in the different way, science communication media make it aobut the crazy person who wants to live as a goat when youre working on something it doesnt seems that crazy have random firends who take photos and videos

youre v keen on experts partly as an excuse to go in strane bits of unis where weird stuff is going on, getting access to people anf giving themm a bizarre question. It's about fantasy meeting reality, fighting cerayin bits of aestheti t-in the design world

competition - complementarity disempowerment - solidarity inequality - equality isolation - togetherness common ownership

qs theres the criticism that coops are a sort of small scale thing, dont really have the optimisim to change the larger system.

Coops are a small short term step in the right direction