“The animal has secrets which, unlike the secrets of caves, mountains or seas, are specifically addressed to man” – this is one of the answers, given by John Berger in his essay Why Look at Animals?

A pretext to return to John Berger’s famous text from 1977 is provided by the exhibition entitled Territory, which features works by Netta Laufer and Tom Swoboda. The discussion summarising the presentation will be an opportunity to return to the eponymous question posed by the English writer and an attempt to consider which secrets are revealed to us when we look at animals, and what it actually means to be looking at them. During the conversation we will also consider what perspective on our relations with other animals is offered by the humanities, and what is still impossible in ethology, evolutionism, or natural sciences. What role can art and artists play in this process? Is there an alternative to binary thinking based on the human-nonhuman opposition? Finally, where to look for patterns of relations between humans and nonhuman beings?


Dr Anna Barcz – assistant professor at the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Dr Agata Ciastoń – independent curator, teacher and author of texts.

Dr Marianna Szczygielska – researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, where she works at Faculty III: Artefacts, Knowledge, Action.

Moderator: Dr Joanna Bednarek – philosopher, translator, writer, member of the editorial board of Praktyka Teoretyczna journal.


* translated by Sławomir Sikora

The event is organised in cooperation with the AIR Wro artist-in-residence programme of Culture Zone Wrocław.

The event accompanies Netta Laufer and Tom Swoboda’s exhibition TerritoryMore information about the exhibition >>>

Partners of the Territory exhibition: PZU Foundation, Culture Zone Wrocław.