Thwaites went on a quest to build an electric toaster from scratch, seeking iron, copper, mica, nickel and crude oil (for the plastic case) from disused mines in Britain, then attempting to process the materials at home. This nine-month process to make a simple toaster is absurd, but so too is the massive industrial activity we pursue to achieve additional comforts at ever lower prices. The laboriousness of producing even the most basic material from the ground up exposes the fallacy of returning to some romantic ideal of a pre-industrialised time. But at this moment in time when the effects of industry are no longer trivial for the environment, the throwaway toasters of today seem unreasonable.
Twitter hashtag: #toasterSG
Photo: Daniel Alexander