Shallow Graves for Minks

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Shallow Graves for Minks
Object date November 2020
Place of Origin Holstebro, Denmark
Designer The Danish government (Cabinet of Denmark)
Materials Soil, culled mink carcasses, disinfectant, lime

by student Amir Tahvonen

This autumn, shallow graves of industrial scale were dug in Denmark for the purpose of burying culled mink, who were killed as a response to concerns for a mutated coronavirus (Kevany, 2020). The graves are an example of design which is unintended, a hasty response to a crisis. They don’t seem like typical design objects, but are nevertheless planned, designed and executed. Like the fashion industry, the making of fur hides many of its elemental phases. The fur also illustrates a process of cultural ‘cooking’ (Williamson, 1985), where a mink is made into an acceptable material. These graves mark a turning point for mink fur farming in Denmark, and reflect the ongoing trend (Penrose, 2019) of outphasing fur as a possible material. In the current pandemic, with the backdrop of climate crisis, the shallow graves ask what we do with materials, who are materials, and what and who the processes of our material flows’ use and abuse.

Kevany, S. (2020, November 4). Denmark announces cull of 15 million mink over Covid mutation fears. The Guardian.

Penrose, N. (2019, October 22). Your Complete Guide To Fur-Free Fashion Designers And Retailers: Fur out, ethical fashion in. Elle.

Williamson, J. (1985). Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising, Chapter Four: ‘Cooking’ Nature. Marion Boyars.


Disposing of dead mink on November 9, 2020. Morten Stricker/Dagbladet Holstebro Struer/Jysk Fynske Medier/Ritzau Scanpix/via REUTERS. Published by Reuters in Mink cull puts Denmark’s government in legal pinch on November 10, 2020,