There’s something excellent about the juxtaposition of a big, fat, unself-conscious pig (the farm animal) and an office environment. Pigs don’t seem to care where they are and will happily saunter along – muddy field, pig sty, built-up environment, wherever – snouts to the ground, hoping (but casually) that an edible scrap will turn up soon. Offices, on the other hand, are places of high structuration with complex, nuanced human interrelations. Pigs aren’t meant in offices.
Last year, when an errant Somerset pig escaped from his farm and strolled into the offices of a housing association, the BBC reported, “Shock as pig wanders into office.” The pig, named Jack, became a bit of a star for 15 minutes.
A few months ago, a County Down farmer who was being prevented from auctioning pigs on his farm protested by unleashing a giant into a local government office. It’s worth watching.
But this is life imitating art. The writers of BBC2’s The Day Today, broadcast in 1994, realised the comic potential of pigs in offices acutely. In the following clip, Lester Beck, a disseminator of a “radical management system” called “disassemblage”, releases a huge pig into an office to see how members of staff react. As they panic Beck proclaims, “You see the pig doesn’t care about you, but you care about the pig.”