After learning that the Biggest Boar contest had been discontinued at the Illinois State Fair, I went on a fact-finding mission to determine whether business interests or animal welfare concerns were at the heart of this decision, and if raising a several-thousand-pound animal was really cruel or not. My results pointed to something more complicated, and left me thinking about what it is that we find so appealing, or appalling, about a huge pig. The accompanying modified, invented, or traced postcards convey parts of this research from interviews I conducted with a veterinarian friend, an Illinois State Fair swine barn manager, and a representative of the National Pork Board as well as popular ideas about boars and scientific studies on the similarity of pigs and humans. The sculpted pig stands 4 feet tall and 8 feet long, and is the actual size of Big Norm—the largest pig on Earth during his lifetime.
This project was also presented at a Pecha Kucha night hosted in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois in 2013. (The talk, also titled "Big Pork", can be viewed here).
Sculpted pig (rigid styrofoam, Styro-spray 1000 coating, latex paint the color of the artist’s skin, 8’x4’x3’), watercolor and ink postcards modified from found images.
Photos: Will Arnold