The book ‘PIG 05049’ describes the numerous consumer products derived from the different parts of a pig. While we typically consider that the Pig is primarily a source of food and little else, this book dispels that idea and gives some insight into just how far the meat industry pervades into every aspect of our lives. The range of consumer products utilizing raw materials from the Pig is both extensive and diverse.
Two reasons I liked this book, firstly it shows that our relationship with the Pig is much more complex than only food and is a component in many of the products we regularly consume and rely on, second, the format and layout of the book is very well executed and in fact won the 2008 Dutch Design Awards.
The sheer scale of the meat industry is difficult to comprehend and by focusing on a single pig, it frames the issue to a manageable size. This invites the reader to visualize for themselves that if this is what one single pig is used for, then how many pigs are being processed by the meat industry to satisfy global demand for all these daily use consumer products. Practically, this concept of reducing a difficult to imagine scale such as the meat industry to a unit that is comprehendible is one I intend to revisit and reuse.
Although not intended as a Photobook, I can see several design elements that could easily be incorporated in a photobook. The inclusion of a plastic pig tag into the spine of the book is clever and adds something tactile while at the same time makes Pig 05049 more that just a parts list but was once a living creature. It creates a sense of proximity to the subject.
The use of terse text on the opposite page of the product is neat and tidy, bottom of the page, centered and lined off.
Overall, I got a lot out of this book, in thinking about the meat industry and in presenting work that is critical of it. Although the book is not promoting nor condemning the meat industry, the foreword by Lucas Verweij does close with ‘It lets us see how mad the globalising world already is’. (Meindertsma, 2007, p. foreword)
MEINDERTSMA, Christien. 2007. ‘PIG 05049’. [online]. Available at: https://christienmeindertsma.com/PIG-05049 [accessed 17 Apr 2021].
MEINDERTSMA, Christien. 2010b. ‘How Pig Parts Make The World Turn’. TED [online]. Available at: https://www.ted.com/talks/christien_meindertsma_how_pig_parts_make_the_world_turn?language=en [accessed 17 Apr 2021].
MEINDERTSMA, Christien. 2010. ‘Pig 05049’. [online]. Available at: https://vimeo.com/10717795 [accessed 17 Apr 2021].