What’s left over after a cow is slaughtered for beef? It’s not a trick question. Design Academy Eindhoven student Adelaide Tam has won the 2018 Future Food Design Award jury AND audience prize for her project 0.9 Grams of Brass, a poetic answer to the opening question. By transforming the brass cartridge casing into a mundane paperclip and selling it for the same price as the cost of the original bullet, Tam highlights the ways that we assign value of life within the meat industry.
“The ‘value’ of life within the meat industry is well hidden behind closed doors by keeping the slaughter process anonymous from society. The deaths of these animals remain unknown and unvalued, while the perception of the consumer is distorted and often misunderstood,” Tam writes in her project overview. 0.9 Grams calls out this discrepency by initiating a retail transaction where people can buy a single paper clip from a vending machine for the same price as the cost of the bullet.
This poetic interaction brought up a lot of feelings for the jury, of which LinYee Yuan, editor of MOLD, participated in this year. Not only did some jury members call out the unease of potentially losing this emotionally loaded object amongst the ubiquity of other paperclips, but it sparked a larger conversation around eating meat, the ethics of industrial slaughter and more—exactly the dialogue that Tam was hoping to foster with her project.
By transforming a byproduct of meat production into a critical object, Tam successfully raises curiosity and questions about the future of our relationship with meat and industrial production.