Especie en viaje/Species in travel

Illustrated songbook exploring climate-induced migration and its relationship with walking, species movement, and xenophobia.

Partner: Walking as a research practice, Graduate class with Lydia Matthews.
Timeline: October 2022 – December 2022 (2 months)

Approach: visual art, illustration, desk research.
Topics: climate-induce migration, environmental mobility, animal cruelty, xenophobia.

My role: researcher, walker, illustrator, migrant.


Migration has been part of human history since our ancestors started walking in East Africa. The history of hominin bipedalism is a history tied to migration. Still, the dominant political, economic and social system we live under today praises nationalist ideas, constantly depicting the Other as undesirable, dangerous, less valuable, less worthy of living, and hence not wanted in a territory we consider ours.

Migration is only going to increase with the catastrophic effects of climate change. In 2022, thousands of people died, and millions lost their homes in devastating floods in Bangladesh, Sudan, and Pakistan; hurricane Ian caused devastation in Puerto Rico and central America; in East Africa, 50 million people face the immediate threat of starvation caused by the worst drought in 40 years. Heatwaves, wildfires, the continuous melting of the ice caps, and the imminent disappearance of the small pacific nations due to sea level rise are just some of the threats forcing the world to move.

Meanwhile, millions are spent on the militarization of borders and climate-induced migration is not yet recognized by the international refugee regime, and it wasn’t included in the agenda of the Conference of the parties – COP27.


This Illustrated songbook explores climate-induced migration and its relationship with walking, species movement, xenophobia and animal cruelty. The songbook uses the lyrics from the song Movimiento (Movement) from the Uruguayan singer Jorge Drexler as the base to make a case for open borders.

The song/poem talks about this constant movement humans are part of, and it is an invitation to reflect on our relationship to the land and our opinions on migration. Each page of the songbook includes the lyrics verses accompanied by illustrated scenes of current waves of migration in Syria, Venezuela, Haiti, Ukraine, Pakistan, Pacific island small states, Puerto Rico and more. The last page makes a commentary on the cruelty involved in human relationships with other animals.

Projects details

This project started listening to the song Movimiento on a cold day in November 2022 while I was on a bus through Brooklyn, NY. Most of the scenes of the final songbook came to me from the imaginal world as I was listening to different parts of the lyrics.

Literature review

I started researching and reviewing literature and media articles about the current state of climate-induced migration. My previous work with the Zolberg Institute for Migration and Mobility and the International Rescue Committee, together with my personal interest in Environmental Justice gave me a lot of background on the topic. After gathering insights about the agenda of the Conference of the parties – COP27 and the international refugee law, I started identifying specific stories of communities around the world experiencing climate related migration as well as other important migratory waves.


After having all these details, I proceed with the ideation of the scenes for the songbook. I build collages of photographs from news articles and screenshots of Movimiento’s original music video. I also translate the song from Spanish to English.

Illustration and book edition

Finally, I illustrated each scene digitally, edited the book, and printed a few copies.

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