Klara Hobza – On Slaughter (Black Forest Library 9)

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Black Forest Library No. 9 accompanies Markus, a dropout in the Swedish forests, as he slaughters a sheep: From the killing to the skinning and the usage of the intestines.

In “On Slaugther”, artist Klara Hobza uses scientific drawings to accompany Markus, a dropout in the forests of Sweden as he slaughters a sheep. The best impression of the book is undoubtedly gained by quoting the table of contents: Bench; Knives; Sharpening; Whisk; Before we start; The killing; The skinning; The organs; Usage of intestines; The Slaughter will be finished now; Glue; Meat; […]

Today, we no longer see the violence of animal slaughter because industrial meat production is compartmentalised and its products are detached from the killing process. By appropriating the visual conventions of scientific drawings, Klara Hobza draws attention to the inherent brutality of the slaughter, but also creates objectivity that allows the process to be viewed with scientific eyes and fascination. However, the book does not remain objective, but lets Markus himself tell how it feels to slaughter an animal: “Every time I slaughter, I think it’s something, hmm … it’s something … it’s a feeling. The part where I feel nervous to kill the animal or some- thing, that has long ago gone away … in a way. But I think the whole act in itself, with the taking off the skin and opening the body and seeing all this inside and … I think the whole act – as a whole – is kind of beautiful, in a strange way.”

Hardly anyone knows how traditional slaughter works, in which every single part of the animal has a meaning and is utilised. The book preserves this knowledge as a guide and also encourages readers to reflect on their own relationship to food production and consumption.

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