We love the work of Dutch artist Christien Meindertsma, and have drawn on her work to explain what the ‘follow the thing’ approach is all about, and how to do it well on our Classroom Resources page. We were reminded of her work today in a seminar in the Exeter Geography series by Ray Chan called “Capitalist pigs: politics of meat production and animal diseases in China.” We’re posting her 2010 TED talk today because it’s awesome. Enjoy!
I think that, in order to take better care of what’s behind our products — so, the livestock, the crops, the plants, the non-renewable materials, but also the people that produce these products — the first step would actually be to know that they are there.Christian Meindertsma 2010 | TED Talk
If you have been looking for a go-to explanation of the ‘follow the thing’ approach to material culture studies, this is your lucky post. Here artist and designer Christien Meindertsma – author of PIG05049 – explains it beautifully.
One of our favourite examples of the followthethings genre is a book by artist Christien Meindertsma called PIG 05049. She finds pig parts in 185 products and describes pigs as ‘absolute kings and queens’. How did she do this? As she describes her work in this TED talk, “I followed this one pig…”
Meindertsma isn’t the only artist to follow a pig. In 2011, musician Matthew Herbert made an album called ‘One Pig’. He fed sounds from a pig’s life into music. Here’s his explanation, track by track…