Christien Meindertsma, animals and humans

Christien Meindertsma is one of my favourite artist-designers.

I first learned of her work in 2007, when she published her second book, PIG 05049. Every so often I sit down with it and flip through the pages in awe. Like Haraway’s When Species Meet, PIG 05049 forever changed the way I understand human-animal relations.

“Christien Meindertsma spent three years researching all the products made from a single pig. Amongst some of the more unexpected results were: Ammunition, medicine, photo paper, heart valves, brakes, chewing gum, porcelain, cosmetics, cigarettes, conditioner and even bio diesel.”

Seriously, I had no idea! And the book itself is beautifully designed.

Here’s Meindertsma talking about the project at TEDxAmsterdam:

As Masha du Toit explains, “Christien is fascinated by the link between products and the materials they are made out of. Even when we have some understanding of what something is made of – the emotional and physical link is lacking. Christien attempts to remind us of this link.”

Her current project – One Sheep Sweater – is a bit closer to my current research interests.

“We are currently working on a new collection of knitted sweaters that are each made from the wool of one of these merino sheep. There is only one flock of merino sheep in the Netherlands, owned by Mathee Kamp. The sheep have been shorn and the wool is on the way to be washed and spun.”

I assume this builds on the work started in 2005’s One Sheep Cardigan project, which involved knitting three cardigans, each from the wool of one sheep. The sweaters come with the sheep’s identifying ear-tag, its “passport” and a trophy ribbon:

All of which is to remind myself that I want/hope to bring some of her sensibilities into a project we’re working on for the Animal Architecture Awards. Stay tuned for more on that!