PIG 05049 is a communications design developed after three years of research to track all the products made from a single pig. ‘05049’ was an actual pig raised and slaughtered on a commercial farm in the Netherlands. Rotterdam designer Christien Meindertsma was shocked to discover that she could document 185 products contributed to by the animal.
Meindertsma’s design includes the publication of her book, PIG 05049, which charts and pictures each of the products supported by the animal. The surprise is in the fact that elements of production contributed to by pig farming include not only predictable foodstuffs – pork chops and bacon – but far less expected non-food items: ammunition, train brakes, automobile paint, soap and washing powder, bone china, cigarettes.
The book is primarily a visual statement, keeping text to a minimum. It makes no comment on such potentially contentious issues as the conditions under which commercial farm animals are handled or the context in which various religious and other parts of society see the pig. Instead, Meindertsma says she finds the main interest in her project in its implications for conservation efforts. “In taking good care of the Earth, basically, the first step is knowing where our things come from,” she says.
“There are very many steps between the raw material and the end product in modern commercial production. And because there are so many steps in between, the knowledge gets lost. For instance, the pig farmers also don’t know all the end-products that are made from their pigs because they just don’t know where it goes.”
In producing a book on her work, Meindertsma says she had in mind the concept of a time capsule, something that might be dug up in a hundred years and reveal something of how we lived at this time.
Christien Meindertsma - The Nethererlands