Just Wondering

Creativity, 2020, Grantee Link >

Just Wondering is a collective influenced by object oriented ontology, intersectional veganism and eco-feminism. They seek to pose questions rather than answering them, and they do so from a standpoint critical of anthropocentrism and of the drive for perpetual economic growth. They rely on visual storytelling to bring forth ideas that are often left at the margins. They received a grant for “Can we make Climate Justice with Animals?” an animated video essay that raises and responds to some difficult questions about how other-than-human animals might become political actors with a voice in the current climate crisis. Just Wondering writes:

The purpose of this video essay is to bring to the forefront a critique of anthropocentrism in the impending climate crisis, as well as to ask creative questions regarding how we could govern ourselves together with other earthlings. To do so, we will engage in research with theories spanning from object oriented ontology to various forms of posthumanism, as well as criticisms of development from decolonial thinkers, and touching upon issues of speciesism and anthropocentrism in both western and indigenous writings. Visually, our research will be informed by art that is participatory and multispecies.

With more resources to do what they love, Just Wondering . . . transformed their video essay into an animated short film titled “We fly, We crawl, We swim,” that focuses on social justice from multiple perspectives and centers non-human animals in an anti-speciesist narrative. The search for justice is not an individual endeavor, but is a collective practice of world-making. Haunted by past extinctions, a human being starts wondering what climate justice might look like, what its faces may be, when other beings are involved in the questioning. A cat and many other non-human animals become present and part of the process, sharing their experiences, and moving together towards multispecies justice. The questions the film poses are as real as you or I.

Instead of letting the COVID-19 pandemic hold them back, Just Wondering . . . let the film inspire them to make their project even more complex and thought-provoking. It even birthed the side project, “Poems from the production process,” which features poems inspired by the making of this animated short film. They write: “It engages with ideas taken from environmental justice, political ecology, political philosophy, posthumanism, critical animal studies, and anti-speciesist thought in general.” You can learn more about Just Wondering, read the poetry, and watch “We fly, We crawl, We swim” here.

You can read an interview with Just Wondering . . .  conducted by Gauri Kasarla, a 2023 CAF Navab Fellow from Columbia University studying Art History and Visual Art, here.