A chance to share with our many cell-ves*
The kinship approach that I have adopted (from Donna Haraway) in my lab work reflects the practices of other cultures. Non-Western traditions of honouring the spirits of animals, for example. My experience of laboratory culture in the UK is that there is little room for reflection on the lives that are a vital part of laboratory work, and by extension a vital part of our lives. Some of the conversations I have had with my colleagues in the laboratory have led me to conclude that a means to share the affect of working with life in the laboratory might form a useful first step in interdisciplinary dialogue on the place of kinship in the laboratory.
Thus I offer here a zone of contemplation: an anonymous means with which to discuss working with living material, a 'confessional' of sorts, or perhaps a chance to place humanity under the microscope. It may feel a little uncomfortable at first but, then who does like being under the microscope? If we are able to begin to think about living material as an extension of the self, then in this virtual space we can share amongst our multiple selves how we feel about the way that we interact with and use forms of life as a part of our own existence. Share thoughts on what you did in the laboratory today. Consider the biological subject that you worked with from your personal point of view, not from the viewpoint of protocol and scientific research. Here is a space that operates outside the conformities of the institution: a space for instinct.
* Guy Ben-Ary's Cell-F considers the autonomy of the cell as a neural synthesiser.
I borrow the term to use it in the plural, alluding to the agency of cells acting in relation to each other.