Featured on a card… in a toaster… in the buyers booth
The interior mechanism of a vintage toaster has had a short, fake electrical cord attached complete with plug. Tied to the end of the cord near the plug are two folded paper pieces (a paper plane and a game of chance) made from pages of the German Dictionary. The Dictionary itself has been split in two and each half bound with nylon filament to keep the pages and covers together (creating two discrete blocks or pieces of “toast”). These have been inserted in the toast slots. Also in one of the toast slots is a booklet made from five original pages torn from the Dictionary which have German words written on them in pen and ink. The cover of this booklet is made from a scan of the real cover. This booklet has been duplicated in the form of a miniature zine which hangs from the exterior of the toaster as a swing tag. The zine represents a puzzle game in which all information is present to translate the German pen and ink writing (with some effort from the observer).
A foreign language may be remote and weird to us while being normal and everyday in its native setting. We can laugh about, and talk in, silly accents, use “pretend” foreign language or be tortured by strict procedures in old school teaching fashion. The toaster transcends cultural differences and lives in every kitchen, yet retains a sweet attraction…a toy toaster is an appealing thing and retro toasters become objects of desire. Of course, the search for the perfect toaster-of-long-life is never ending…. In combining the everyday retro kitchen object (albeit in an unusual presentation) with foreign language the stage is set for investigation by the curious and playful. Combining graphic techniques old and new (pen and ink writing and scans of a 3 dimensional book) the object arrangement is completed – the addition of the resulting puzzle zine as a swing tag adds to the consumable image of the everyday kitchen appliance and allows the observer to participate in a timely word finding game.