Die Würste meines Lebens / The sausages of my life

 For her thesis Sophie Wurnig has taken up the unexpected subject of the sausage, analysing its cultural context and specific features in a humorous, detailed and personal way. The questions however that are brought up if one looks at the sausage as cultural object reach further than one might predict. Using her own personal narrative, Sophie touches both up on questions of nationalism, patriotism and the way in which a “we” is constructed, and also on the way in which certain behaviour can go unquestioned in the name of tradition. (Dorine van Meel, thesis supervisor)


People create things, and things created by humans always have cultural information incorporated. But this information only comes to light through the encounter of people and things. The thing can also be without humans, but humans will always see more in the thing than just a thing. They also see a part of themselves. So, are we interpreting the things around us only as a confirmation of ourselves? Is it important for us because of that, to surround ourselves with selected things? What influence do these things have on us? Because they are not only a reflection of the individual, but also carry the values of a society which the individual cannot block out. We need culture and at the same time it seems to crush us.

Sausage is always culture 

Summer at home. I almost never eat meat, because I somehow have to compensate for the shear amounts of meat I consumed when I was on holidays at home. Meat and summer, that almost goes together. But not only in the summer, also the rest of the year, there is such a love for meat in Austrian culture. I also feel that within me. I do not have a constant craving for meat, but it just tastes like home when I eat a Wurstsemmel. And it is part of a romantic, mild summer night, to throw the pork filets on the grill. It is a bizarre feeling of happiness that is only possible through death. It is a perverted love. 

The variations of meat consumption are endless. Is there any other ingredient that has developed such an insane number of dishes and forms of processing? 

Especially the sausage is a strange relative of the meat. You can’t even point out the meat anymore. It may be as far away as you can be from meat while being meat. For me, sausage embodies the highest level of culture. Sausage is always culture. There is no cultureless sausage. A pig does not belong to a particular culture. A sausage does. Sausage does matter to everyone. People love their sausage, or they hate it. 

I have always been on the side of the lovers. Sometimes more and sometimes less and there are of course varieties that I love more than others, or even those which I have never dared to try. But I have the feeling that sausage creates a community because in its form it does not remind us that it comes from nature but has a humanity to it. It’s not about repressing that it’s meat what you eat. Sausage embodies the drive we humans have developed to overcome and transform nature and make it our property.