Collaborating as Animal Allegories, Zoë Sadokierski and Ceridwen Dovey craft experimental, visually surprising tales of animal entanglements. We know stories can’t save the world. But they can provide moments of respite, transporting us into an imaginative realm where future possibilities shimmer briefly into view. Zoë is a designer, creative producer and Associate Professor at the University of Technology Sydney School of Design. Ceridwen is a writer of fiction and creative nonfiction, and a filmmaker.
Contributions to HumansandNature.org:
Future Fables: Lessons from Other Animals
- Upside Down People: Bats and Autism
- Leathery Little Saints (coming soon)
Additional Noteworthy Links:
The off-kilter stories that make up the Future Fables: Lessons from Other Animals collection are intended to open up new thresholds for considering how humans relate to the more-than-human species around us. These stories emerged alongside another project Animal Allegories is developing with the Australian Museum, titled “Survival Stories: Threatened Species and the Scientists Who Study Them.”
The “Survival Stories” project is designed to foster ecological literacy in adult audiences, focusing on stewardship and conservation of one at-risk species at a time. Although creative and playful, those stories are necessarily ‘fact based’, as appropriate for a scientific institution such as the Australian Museum. Yet while interviewing scientists and fossicking in the archives, we began spinning stories that were more fable than fact: expatriate lungfish looking for love in lonely hearts columns, a conversation between a naturalist and a platypus about colonial collection practices, historical news extracted from the bellies of fish specimens.
In addition to our own experimental stories, we met artists and storytellers with wonderfully unusual stories of human-animal entanglements: bats as a potent metaphor for living with autism, or as an extended metaphor for parenting in climate emergency.
The Center for Humans and Nature is the perfect home for these future fables, speculative histories, and unlikely visualizations. As our species adapts to frightening new ecological realities, and fights to keep the future livable for all creatures, we hope these tales of animal entanglements will make you think or feel anew about the beings with whom we hope to continue sharing this planet.
This project has been made possible through the support of the Australian Museum, particularly Climate Curator and Manager of the Climate Solutions Center Jenny Newell, UTS School of Design, and a 2022 International Engagement Grant from the Australia Council for the Arts.