Paw Paradox, 2024

The fascinating relationship between humans and animals is reflected not only in the history of their shared development but also in jurisprudence. A particularly peculiar chapter in this regard is the animal trials that encompassed numerous legal proceedings involving animals during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. These trials ranged from murder charges against pigs to ecclesiastical excommunication procedures against grasshoppers and beetles. Even the public hanging of a circus elephant finds its place in the annals of history. These trials, albeit only a small part of the legal history between humans and animals, attest to a fascinating interplay of legal structures and human interaction with animals.

"Paw Paradox" aims to shed light on this complex issue. Through a series of artworks, the project endeavors to provoke contemplation on the intricate dynamics between humans and animals within the legal sphere. Incorporating images partially generated with artificial intelligence, the project further delves into questions surrounding the ownership and copyright of images, adding another layer to the discussion of rights.

In the photographic realization of this concept, my artistic endeavor was twofold: first, to anthropomorphize animals, presenting them as sentient beings with agency, and second, to portray them as objects, highlighting the historical and legal perspectives that have often relegated animals to mere property.

1474, Basel, Switzerland
A Rooster was brought to trial for allegedly laying an unusual egg

1916, Kingsport, Southern United States
Elephant cow hung from a crane

1750, Vanves, Northern France
Female donkey classified as victim in sexual trial

1508, Autun, France
Public accusation against rats that threatened crops and food supplies

1544, Beauvais, France
Locusts accused of crop damage 

1815, Hartlepool, Northeast England
Costumed monkey lynched as a spy

2004, Kostanay, Central Kazakhstan
Female bear serves fifteen-year prison sentence

1386, Falaise, Northern France
Pig executed in show trial