PH730 – Module Assignment

End of module assignment. Dummy photobook & statement of intent.

Genesis Nine Three

Many who see meat on the shelf in a supermarket ever give a second thought to where it originated. While others may have a nagging sense, there is more to the story than a shrink-wrapped package. Whether we are aware of the full extent, the meat industry is ubiquitous and pervades every aspect of modern life.

The pig, which can end up on a dinner plate or fabricated into consumer products, can also have a place in the home as a pet. Although, for most people, eating the family pet is taboo. However, when the context changes, attitudes can shift to acceptance and an animal’s life can follow a completely different trajectory.

I created the work in this project to explore the dichotomy between keeping pets as companions and consuming them. Although the pig is not a very common pet, it is demonstrative of how we can be comfortable living with different outcomes for the same sentient creature. In juxtaposing images of pet pigs with their peers in factory farms or the slaughterhouse, it questions the meat industry narrative. Advertising for meat products avoids connotations or associations that could portray the industry and its treatment of animals in a negative light. By purposefully exposing those undesired associations, it creates other perspectives on meat that challenge the hidden and unsaid.

Threaded throughout the work are interrelated themes such as the modern pig slaughtering and disassembly process and consumer products that contain pig derived co-products. Furthermore, as the title of the book suggests, a religious element alludes to the sweeping justification for eating everything we want without it weighing on the conscious.

Additionally, an important element of the work is to present a relatively neutral position on meat while drawing together several themes into one place to visualize the tensions that exist between them, in effect showing rather than attempting to dissuade.

Certainly, the meat industry is an unpleasant aspect of contemporary society and not without its consequences. In fact, its sheer scale and enormous appetite for shared resources puts it high on the list of global climate change contributors.

The original inspiration for this work comes from the ‘Porkopolis’ zine published in 1989 by Sue Coe. I saw in this work an opportunity to explore another aspect of our relationship with the pig with the aim to create an alternative narrative that ultimately has a similar goal of challenging the meat industry.

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