a series of creative experiments in remote togetherness ︎
OUR COLLECTIVE REFLECTIONS * FALL 2021 ︎︎︎ open sessions ︎ + working doc ︎
As our world continues to transform through 2021, 2022 and beyond, how should virtual care lab persist as a meeting place for what is most resonant and necessary moving forward?
In Fall 2021, we spent time in collective reflection on the many gatherings, projects, dialogues, Lab Hours, and experiments in the past year.
We asked: What have we learned in our experimental collaborations so far? Who are we in relation to each other? What would we like to develop a deeper study into? What do we need in order to do this? See our archive for more documentation - and some of our thoughts in shorter form below.
Kristen Mitchell “For me, VCL works as a practical space for contribution and community. It seems to offer a receptacle for action and thought that generate their own swing…maybe this is reciprocity?”
“It always takes the form of the people coming, adding, receiving and going and adjusts to their attitudes very elegantly. So much so that I am uncertain of what is holding it together.”
“With the virtual space certain things are flattened and so other things take their place and re-create a 3 dimensionality.”
“Once you start divesting from more dominant systems and the realities they produce, it is a relief to find living alternatives of any size. As adrienne maree brown tee’d up for us, scale doesn’t matter.”
Bhavik Singh “virtual care lab is a warm space I can step into when I feel alone. a circle of care that i can visit when i need it, or when it needs me. a way of being together that is intentional, thoughtful, guided and yet also new, liberating and deeply freeing. it is a home for me - not in a particular place, but in always and everywhere.”
Elenie Chung “VCL goes through constant metamorphosis and experimentation - groups became archived, new groups were formed and I think what really worked for me is this lack of expectation or commitment for both parties—the host and the participant.”
Illustration by Wandy Cheng
José Miguel Galán Najarro “Despite the barriers, we continue to communicate via postal mail, text, and images of written text. A pesar de las barreras, nos continuamos comunicando a traves de correo postal, texts, e imágenes de texto escrito.”
“Y el portal continúa. / And the portal continues.”
(View José Miguel Portal)
Daniela Hernández Chong Cuy “Virtual Care Lab is overlapping and continuing ways of communication that occur in space and virtual ether. Virtual Care lab has taught me new, expansive ways of advocating, communicating and caring for those that I represent, and has shown me the immense value of interdisciplinary collaboration, including law and art.”
Kenny Zhao “Virtual Care Lab is the sense of care and understanding I've cultivated with real individuals, many of whom I've never met in person. I've filled notebooks with reflections, insights, and ‘vibey turns of phrase’ from this past year, nearly all of them either inspired or encouraged by my experiences with VCL. But the ideas alone would lose their hold if it weren't for the ongoing support, encouragement, and curiosity I feel whenever I connect with the VCL community”
Vera Grimmer “Taking care means paying attention”
Aden Solway “Like love, this work we have done together asks of us to practice many things: ongoing care, open communication and above all else, a commitment to address and engage the needs of others through reciprocal exchange.”
“I have learned a great deal from all of our community members — be it about the shortcomings and liberties of technology as a tool for social gathering, the persistence of human and nonhuman life during a period of tumult (or even disaster) and the power of collective mobilization.”
Figure 1: Mushroom spores as seen through an electron microscope
“Here I witnessed a community of people who are incredibly intentional and politically responsive with their use of the digital. I loved being part of conversations really grappling with digital ethics, sharing best practices, and seeking healthier relationships to/with the virtual From this, I recognized another way to conceptualize Virtual Care Lab I hadn’t seen at the beginning. Beyond ‘care’ as the subject that needed to be done ‘virtually’, I realized VCL is most fascinating to me with ‘virtual’ as the subject, and ‘care’ as a deeply necessary and long-omitted quality of the virtual.”
︎ Email us at virtualcarelab [at] gmail.com if you’d like to contribute thoughts on the past year with us.
Lab Hour is a weekly time for collective imagining.
Each Sunday at 2 PM PDT, we meet on the 'Lab Hour' voice channel on Discord to say hi, ask questions, cross-pollinate ideas, and reflect on what it means to be in virtual community with each other. Join us for the next one! 📌️ ADD TO YOUR CALENDAR🌐 JOIN DISCORD CHANNEL Have a specific topic on your mind? Email us at virtualcarelab [at] gmail.com and we’ll bring it up in our next conversation.
︎︎ the calendar ︎︎
Feel free to join anything that piques your interest! You can also add impromptu gatherings that don’t require additional programming support, like hosting a film screening or book club on Discord. For access, message any co-organizer on Discord or email virtualcarelab [at] gmail.com ︎