CENL Event

15th March 2021

MEAT: An Exhibition on the Inner Life

In “Meat – An Exhibition on Inner Life,” the Swiss National Library traces the evolution and questions the role of meat, at the same time exploring it as a commodity and a food of choice. The exhibition is is free and available to view from 4th march to  June 30, 2021.Are you a meat-eater or a vegetarian? Some will happily tuck into a juicy T-bone steak while others prefer a vegetable hummus burger. Whatever we choose, the food on our plate shapes our perceptions of who we are – proving that, as the saying goes, “you are what you eat”. Our exhibition looks at the processes behind this phenomenon, following meat from the table back via the butcher’s shop to the slaughterhouse and the farm. We reveal what’s in the meat we consume, where it comes from, and where its future lies.

Ultimately, we are as much flesh and blood as the animals we (sometimes) eat, so our exhibition broadens its focus to include the human element: from building muscle through strength training and reducing body fat in the gym to the stuff of religious ritual. And against the backdrop of climate change and the debate over animal rights, choosing between a sausage and grilled cheese has turned into a question of identity. The crunch time has well and truly come.

Taking in everything from Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s visions of butchers and Daniel Spoerri’s Eat Art to songs by Stiller Has and sausage ads by Bell, recipe books and lifestyle manuals, the exhibition examines our relationship to meat and investigates the role of a substance that is at once living entity, commodity and gourmet temptation. This multimedia presentation is all about the inner life of carnivores and vegans – a meaty subject indeed!