Radical Empathy Lab (REL) is an on-going social and research laboratory for alternative and holistic knowledge production, that embraces relational –versus informational– learning, and what Brazilian theorist Suely Rolnik calls “the knowing body”; it experiments with transdisciplinary holistic advances, in which the cognitive intertwines with the non-semiotic. The lab strives to emphasise and activate the reconnection to our sensing and knowing bodies, the sensual and experiential for creating critical consciousness, interconnectedness and to sharpen our senses for an “active micropolitics” (Rolnik).
The Radical Empathy Lab explores new forms of being together, that momentarily allow to reflect, to re-feel and undo a reactionary an-aesthesia (Greek: an-aesthēsis: without sensation), that is often nurtured by neoliberal capitalism and by dominant, separationist and systemic structures. By moving from singularity to collective activity REL investigates the relation between micro and macro dimensions of agency, as potential practices of freedom and self-empowerment that decolonise and de-subjectivate the (social) body and its relationality to the Other.
I initiated the Radical Empathy Lab (REL) in 2016 as a framework for my practice based doctoral research to experiment between analysis, workshop and experience. REL has since moved through time and place as a question, a slogan, an intervention, as situations, actions, as affective encounter and as place that allows the laboratory to explore how to activate a micropolitical and holistic making of social empathy and as an approach on post-representational practice.
The workshops, or rather affective encounters, offer idiosyncratic combinations of alternative transdisciplinary artistic techniques to the participants to engage and experiment with; not only to enrich their own imaginaries and artistic or cultural practice, but to engage in a cultural production beyond representation.