How pig parts make the world turn

Dutch artist, Christien Meindertsma, uses art (and craft) to expose the hidden processes and connections of our modern life. One of her award-winning projects, now housed by New York’s Museum of Modern Art, was to document the astounding array of products that different parts of a pig, named 05049, could support. 

Meindertsma spent three years researching all the products made from a single pig. Amongst some of the more unexpected results were: ammunition, medicine, photo paper, heart valves, brakes, chewing gum, porcelain, cosmetics, cigarettes, conditioner and even bio diesel.

She makes the subject more approachable by reducing everything to the scale of one animal.

After it’s death, Pig number 05049 was shipped in parts throughout the world. Some products remain close to their original form and function while others diverge dramatically. In an almost surgical way a pig is dissected in the pages of the book – resulting in a startling photo book where all the products are shown at their true scale (1:1).

Her idea is to reveal the lines that link raw materials with producers, products and consumers that have become so invisible in an increasingly globalized world.

For her first book, Checked Baggage, she purchased a container filled with a week’s worth of objects confiscated at security checkpoints at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport after 9/11. She meticulously categorised all 3 267 items and photographed them on a white seamless background.

LIsten to a fascinating and entertaining TED lecture by Meindertsma here; or view the many uses of Pig 05049, page by page from her book, here {vimeo}10717795{/vimeo}