The project began with a collection of articles about squirrels, dolphins, lizards and pigeons accused of espionage. Years of archival research began. The result was Shifters. Proceeding from Éric Baratay’s history from the point of view of animals, Michel Foucault’s “biopolitics” and Hito Steyerl’s theory of “poor images” – along with modern materialist and feminist theories – in 850 pages Marta Bogdańska takes the reader on an artistic and ethical exploration of the use of animals in the Western military, intelligence services and police, from the nineteenth century to the 1970s.
Along the way, she questions the Judeo-Christian heritage used to deny animals participation, as a way to justify their exploitation. She seeks to develop a nuanced understanding of our unfair coexistence with animals, highlighting the extent of animal courage, sacrifice and suffering.
The choice of paper, format and print quality is a reference to the roots and birth of the modern novel, and it is even reminiscent of the genre of “pulp fiction” with its raw material and printing style, with its mass popularity that goes hand in hand with its bad taste. Texts from participating writers are combined with the pictorial material, and on the basis of Marta Bogdańska’s discoveries, the texts ramify and open doors for further interpretations.
Marta Bogdańska is a visual artist, photographer, cultural director and filmmaker. She has studied philosophy and gender studies at universities in Warsaw and Beirut and has a degree in photography. Her work has attracted considerable international attention. Shifters has won the PHotoESPAÑA Best International Photography Book of the Year award and has been nominated for the Kassel Dummy Award, Luma Rencontre’s Dummy Book Award Arles and the MACK First Book Award.