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