Xu Bing, A Case Study in Transference, 1994
Although this may not be the most aesthetically pleasing work to come out of performance art (but what is nowadays?), Xu’s Case Study cleverly subverts the notion of language by printing pigs with made-up English and Chinese inspired fonts. In the pen are books of different languages. It is the spectators here, not the pigs, who are alarmed or uncomfortable by the situation. The pigs’ act of mating implies that they are not concerned with the books or the words on their body, thus showing the East/West divide—in addition to language, nationality, and culture—to be absurdly human constructs.