PIG 05049 – An Amazing Book About PigsWritten by Lillian Tram on November 5th, 2012
There are a lot of books out there about pigs, but too many of them are made for children. Still more are about farming and livestock. Fascinating stuff, but they kind of get repetitive for me. So when I found Christien Meindertsma’s book called PIG 05049, I nearly fainted.
The special thing about this book is that it’s not just about pigs – it goes through every single product made from pig parts and reduces the scale of the story to one single pig as its organs, skin, nose, and other parts go through the wires of industry and commerce to various destinations.
Some of the products made from pig parts – and this really shocked me – include porcelain, chewing gum, heart valves, cosmetics, cigarettes, bio diesel fuel, photographic paper, medicine, hair conditioner, and even ammunition! Meindertsma spent three years researching for this book and tracked every pig part on its way through factories and into products that you and I use every day.
What makes this book really fascinating, at least to me, is that all these products are reduced to just one single pig. In other words, Meinderstma tracks one pig – pig number 05049 – as its parts were shipped throughout the world after death. The book then provides graphics and information on where every one of these parts went, how they were used, and what products they end up in on the shelves.
The book metaphorically dissects pig 05049 throughout the pages, just as the pig itself was dissected after death for use, to show how industry has captured pigs and pig parts to profit and provide the goods you and I use every day.
What an amazing and unique way to dissect the relationship between pigs and humans. It’s not always about bacon and ham, people! 🙂
Christien Meindertsma TED talks on ‘How pig parts make the world turn’.
Meindertsma has an interesting story in her own right, too. In 2002, she purchased a container filled with a week’s worth of objects that had been confiscated at security checkpoints at an airport in Europe, and created a book that categorized, photographed, and analyzed every single item. She’s made a living as an author and artist exploring the life of products and raw materials, and the track on which products are transported and used from inception to production.
She lives in the Netherlands, but her books and artwork have been exhibited all over the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. For more information on PIG 05049, click here.
So go grab a copy of that book, and take it around your house like I am doing now. Do you own any products made with pig parts? What surprises you to know about it? Who knew pigs were such a part of our daily lives in every way! 🙂