So I’ve had an idea for a big project; something to give greater meaning and depth to my practice.
I’m going to raise a pig.
I didn’t want to start posting until it was set in stone, but after negotiation with a rather enthusiastic small-hold farmer, I’ve managed to secure a location in which to raise a pig. It will be bought and settled in before New Year’s Eve; I can’t wait!
These are the notes I’ve been putting together the last few days.
RAISING A PIG FOR SLAUGHTER:
COULD I RAISE A PIG FOR FOOD?
Just now, I have no real involvement in the subject which fascinates/inspires me; it makes this project feel a little hollow…
Koen Vanmechelen started out as one artist with one chicken and a dream; look what that became…
PURCHASE PIG > HAVE A HAND IN RAISING IT FOR SLAUGHTER > DOCUMENT THE PROCESS/PROGRESS/ITS DEVELOPMENT > WITNESS SLAUGHTER PROCESS > DOCUMENT SLAUGHTER > WITNESS PIG BEING BUTCHERED > DOCUMENT BUTCHERY PROCESS > COOK/SERVE PIG AT DEGREE SHOW > PRESENT (edited) DOCUMENTATION AND SUBSEQUENT ARTWORKS.
Create work as a homage to the smallholder(s) who inspire me and continue to care about their animals, not just the finances, through first hand experience and intimate human/animal contact.
QUESTIONS TO BE ASKED:
WHAT’S POTENTIALLY INVOLVED?
(the breed I will most likely be rearing is the Yorkshire white; a prime pork pig)
Once I had gotten all these considerations down on paper, I set about trying to realize my ambitions. I did some research, and got some realistic costings:
Say it does take 6months, if we started mid Nov, it would be ‘ready’ mid May, and slaughtered in time for assessment… If not for assessment, it would definitely be ready for the degree show.
NOTES ON FINDINGS:
So, I’ve found a farmer, and she has agreed to purchase an extra piglet with her new batch, late December, and it will be settled in and ready for me to start my monthly nurture by New Year. I will be allowed on to the farm to help raise it and gain experience once a month for 3-4 days at a time, so I can maintain regular contact, progress reports, and update the video/photo diary. During these monthly visits, I will pay for the next month’s keep. This ensures that I will be keeping up to date with costings and progression, and that if anything happens to the pig and the project stops, I will be fully paid up/have honored my commitments.
An update on the current piglet price from the farmer stands that the piglet will cost £20, but that is subject to change at the time of purchase.
I’m really excited about the future of this project, and am looking forward to gaining a deeper understanding of the subject/concerns I’m addressing in my studio practice, and deepening the foundations of my context/content.
During my farm visits, I intend to make many observational drawings, which will be incorporated into the works I produce in the studio, at the moment, that’s prints, but this will probably evolve with the progression of the project. I intend for my pig rearing experience to inform my practice at all stages, and to not only develop my knowledge of the traditional husbandry techniques I wish to celebrate in my work, but also that of the human/animal relationship we have with the livestock raised for our food.
Keep up to date on this dedicated page, as the project progresses!