Wolf Talks: An arts-based research project

Vlčí hovory: An arts-based research project

Wolf Talks: An arts-based research project

From 3 September to 3 October 2021, explore the art research Wolf Talks project by prof. Nica Carpentier, which is part of this year's Fotograf Festival program.

Wolves can’t talk, can they? Or can they? Of course, non-human animals can use language. They have vast repertoires of verbal and non-verbal communication at their disposal. They can talk, even if human animals can hardly understand them. But non-human animals cannot produce discourse, at least not when we see discourse as systematically articulated knowledge frameworks. This inability to produce discourses generates structural power imbalances, which places non-human animals in
a fundamentally disadvantageous position. This imbalance is only worsened by the access that human animals have to advanced technologies.

An arts-based research project, created by Nico Carpentier, questions the power dynamics of the discursive-material relationships between human and non-human animals. The project is also an invitation to go on a Wolf Walk, and visit the twelve wolf-and-cat-face collage photographs, located at 12 different places in Prague. On each location, you can listen to a Wolf Talks sound fragment (connected with the photograph through a QR code), where a wolf will speak to you. Exceptionally, as a curtesy to you, they will speak your language.

Wolf Talks analyses and questions these inequalities, acknowledging the unequal power relations non-human animals find themselves in, symbolised by the cat-face filter, which ironically anthropomorphises them and emphasises their tragic situation. But, Wolf Talks also supports the wolves, inspired by post-colonial theory, to talk back and to continue to resist human domination. Even if this tactic is necessarily imperfect, these emphatic visual and auditory representations strengthen
the wolves’ agency through role reversals and highlights their ability to resist, not only through material behaviour but also through the stewardship of these visual and auditory representations.

Vlčí hovory