Hermann Weber. Lethal Consumption


Date: 25.03.2023


Date: 31.03.2023

Hermann Weber’s current series »Lethal Consumption« criticizes the thoughtless consumption of meat, which ignores housing and production conditions as well as the great damage intensive livestock farming causes to nature and the climate.

The artist uses powerful images to defend these animals’ dignity which is taken from them through torturous factory farming and slaughter. He references Melanie Joy’s studies on meat consumption. In this context, the American psychologist coined the term carnism. She describes carnism as an invisible system of convictions which conditions people to eat certain animals. As a dominant and violent ideology, carnism uses a combination of social and psychological defense mechanisms designed to induce people to take part in inhuman practices without fully realizing what they are doing. Their perception of their own behavior changes until these practices seem to correspond with their moral concepts.

In his work on the theme of meat consumption, Hermann Weber also takes a cultural-historical approach, asking how we have come to the current standard of factory farming, which deprives farm animals of any right to a dignified life. In doing so, he criticizes, among others, philosophers such as Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes, who held the opinion that animals have no sentience and thus cannot feel pain or fear, which has been scientifically disproved today. In drawing on the Christian pictorial iconography of Ecce homo, whose meaning is extended especially from the 19th century onwards as an image of human suffering and degradation through violence, and linking it to slaughterhouse scenes, Weber wants to draw attention to the suffering of animals as fellow creatures of humans in factory farming and slaughterhouses.