silent parties

SILENT PARTIES is based on eight historic legal cases in which animals have been put on trial or robots have been at the centre of legal disputes.

The permanent installation artwork in the Court of Aarhus focuses on mute, non-human participants in legal history, spanning from a 15th century case involving a cock being tried for allegedly laying an egg, to a contemporary case examining whether life-size, singing and dancing robots at an American restaurant chain should be considered live performers.

The artwork comprises 54 negative bas-reliefs and engraved texts that are integrated into the law court’s new premise, a renovated art deco building from 1898 which was originally built to house the city library. Each relief represents a non-human participant in a historical legal case and appears to be carved out of the existing library bookshelves, integrating into the existing building’s industrial- organic architecture, in which iron spiders carry electric cables in their webs and glass dragonflies diffuse the chandeliers’ lights.

‘Our history of relating to nonhumans shines a harsh and insightful light on how we choose which lives have value, revealing a new understanding of how we relate – not just to nonhumans but also to each other’
Kate Darling