What at first seems like quite an unassuming if solid tome, on further inspection just blew me away. Not only is the subject matter fascinating, the quality of presentation is outstanding. Researched and produced by Rotterdam designer Christien Meindertsma, her intent was to help people in a highly mechanized and “packaged” world understand how things are made and where they come from so that the resources involved can be cared for by enlightened, informed people. PIG 05049 is a communications design developed in 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. Meindertsma was shocked to discover that she could document 185 products contributed to by the animal.
Her design includes the publication of the 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.
If you manage to find a copy, grab it.
You can watch Christien speak about this project at TEDxAmsterdam here.