To my friend I have not yet met,
welcome to the online version
of a #CripRitual Care Package.
Part I: A Love Letter
This care package began as a conversation between the Critical Design Lab curators
and the gallery folks at both The Doris McCarthy Gallery and Tangled Art & Disability.
Our thoughts began with the idea of contact: the extraordinary contact we have when we encounter art in a gallery with other people. We then considered the connections between #CripRitual and disabled mutual aid – of sustaining each other, of creating and continuing connections between people who are physically far apart.
How might we make deeper connections with remote gallery-goers across the world?
What is the #CripRitual of disabled, crip, d/Deaf, mad, sick connection?
As Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha says in Care Work, disabled people survive because of each other, from sharing the same $20 repeatedly, to giving emotional support, sharing food and other material goods, all whilst building community (1).
What then is necessary for sustaining life, and how do crip rituals sustain us, build community? Here I don’t mean sustaining in terms of physicality (though it could), but rather as collective liberation, of living beautiful disabled, mad, crip, d/Deaf, sick lives.
Thinking about this also reminded us of The Transborder Immigrant Tool, where recorded spoken poetry was as necessary for sustaining life for people crossing the border between Mexico & the US as maps of where to find water on a hidden mobile phone (2). Mimi Khuc’s Open in Emergency project also came to mind, as did a project by my dear friend Melissa Rogers. Titled Making Queer Love: A Kit of Odds and Ends, it was a kit that included a mix of thrifted crafting materials along with a zine that was a love letter and instructions for making queer cross stitch. This project is one of many “iterative acts of making queer love,” and is all about connection and non-productivity, living on the margins together, sharing in love (3).
When art, poetry, and song are understood as collective necessities for life, we change the world we live in.
I began to wonder what a mutual aid expression of the crip ritual of connection, in connection to the #CripRitual exhibition, would look like.
How might we make connections with those who join us for virtual tours, who come to remote artist talks, or arrive on the #CripRitual website to view the virtual exhibition? What does contact mean? What does it mean to be fully present, in the moment, when we are alone in our rooms, yet together through screens?
We chose to create these care packages as our answer.
CripRitual began initially during a Critical Design Lab meeting, where we read and discussed work together.
We were joined by the gallery spaces, first separately, and then together, along with the artists and their work, connecting prior to, and throughout this pandemic, from multiple locations, remotely. (I have never met any of these collaborators in person, yet, connection.)
Now the exhibition is open to the public.
What is necessary for sustaining us?
Another iteration, more sustenance,
And yes, connection.
These care packages.
A new #CripRitual.
– in connection,
Part II: activation
This is the virtual version of the #CripRitual Care Package.
A limited run of physical care packages are available to visitors (virtual or in person)
to the gallery spaces, or by request, via mail.
After engaging with this Care Package, we invite you to respond.
- Read the (slightly different) print version of the curators’ love letter (PDF)
- Recite the incantation (PDF)
- Print & place the button on something you see everyday
- Use one (or all) postcard(s) for knowing and describing your own #cripRitual
- Explore the affirmation card from Margeaux Feldman’s work Soft Magic.
Keep it where you need it most
- Read A Primer on Working With Disabled Group Members for Feminist / Activist Groups and Organisations, from RA Walden’s installation.
(note, this link opens in a new window to RA Walden’s website)
- Hold, use, or wear yarn in connection with Jess Watkin’s installation, Knitting to Listen
- Listen to the #CripRitual playlist (coming soon)
- Download the entire Care Package (PDF)
1. Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, Arsenal Pulp Press. 2018.
2. Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0 / b.a.n.g. Lab, The Transborder Immigrant Tool
3. Mimi Khuc, Open in Emergency
4. Melissa Rogers, Making Queer Love: A Kit of Odds and Ends