From Tale to Tail: Unwinding the Twisted Life Story of PIG 05049


animal welfare, bio-industry, pigs, globalisation, food chain, design journalism, product design, memory, remembering


Pig 05049 is a book and research project by Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma that chronicles the many consumer products that were made from a pig called 05049. The book offers an insightful look into how this one animal, a single source, provides raw material for a vast number of everyday objects. Meindertsma’s clinical presentation of each laboriously researched object, page by page, organised by body part, follows the progress of the dissection of Pig 05049 and the subsequent use of each part. Some products, she found, are expected and familiar, whilst other diverge dramatically: ammunition, medicine, photo paper, cigarettes, conditioner, and bio diesel. PIG 05049 is currently in its 5th edition. The book won the Dutch Design Award in 2008 and the Index award in 2009 in the category Play. The article is a lightly edited transcript of a conversation between Commodity Frontiers editor, Maarten Vanden Eynde and Christien Meinderstma in September 2021.
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