John O’Shea Black Market Pudding

future, stigma, taboo

Are you more likely to eat blood from a pig knowing it didn’t die?

Black Market Pudding is a twist on the traditional Irish blood sausage. It represents an ethically conscious food product, combining congealed pig blood with fats, cereals and spices. Black Market Pudding is manufactured using blood taken from a living pig. It proposes a cyclical business model to ensure a uniquely fair deal for farmer, animal and consumer.

Through a routine veterinary procedure, blood is obtained from the animal in a humane, healthy and safe way. Producers are compensated for costs associated with breeding and maintaining pigs that are kept outside of the traditional food chain. Consumers pay a premium market price for the pudding and the reassurance that no animals are harmed in the making of this product.

Blood Market Pudding confronts us with the taboo of consuming blood taken from a living animal, echoing the harvesting habits of vampire bats and other blood consuming animals. However, the artist argues that it is no more unusual than drinking milk, eating eggs or wearing wool.

Difficult to Produce, Black Market Pudding highlights how comparatively easy (and legal) it is to kill an animal while there is no clear-cut legal process for taking and consuming the blood of a live animal. Production of the work is dependent on the legislation of the country and agreement from a pig farmer – both limiting where this work can be created.

The Melbourne version of the final artwork does not contain blood from a live pig.

Installation, 2017
Image: Courtesy of the artist

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The Artist: John O’Shea

John O’Shea is a UK-based artist working with unconventional materials and social structures to create new and experimental approaches to art-making. Black Market Pudding confronts us with the taboo of consuming blood taken from a living animal, echoing the harvesting habits of vampire bats and other blood consuming animals. However, the artist argues that it is no more unusual than drinking milk, eating eggs or wearing wool. Difficult to produce, Black Market Pudding highlights how comparatively easy (and legal) it is to kill an animal while there is no clear-cut legal process for taking and consuming the blood of a live animal.