Still of Feral Utopias, a multi-channel animation installed with sound, crafted from studio recordings of LGBTQ participants and scans of 19th century wood engravings produced as colonial naturalists documented North American landscapes documented at University of Iowa’s Special Collections. Participants in the project each chose a species, were interviewed on their particular affinities for that species, and then recorded in physical movements that represent their relationship to that species.
As participants explored their personal narrative of cross-species affinity, their stories were located within a struggle of finding a sense of home in a human society that has repeatedly communicated to queer people that we are unwanted. The other worldly space immerses the audience in a multi-voiced narrative that reveals utopic cross species alliances amidst the dystopia realities of American as a settler colonial landscape. This project takes great inspiration from critical investigations into America as a place of settler colonialism, whose history of native genocide shapes contemporary culture and politics. Through an exploration of the potential for queer and animal alliances, the work questions with whom queerness is in community and how queerness can precipitate new solidarities.