Carewave Manifesto

This manifesto is an evolving document and caring and constructive feedback is welcomed and encouraged.

Let’s build the future together.

1. Context

Carewave welcomes you to join us.

Carewave calls for creators and artworks and audiences to care for each other and for the world.

As our world becomes more and more connected, opportunities to work together to create new forms of art and utopian social systems become greater and greater. This interconnectedness is also overwhelming and shocking. We are increasingly exposed to each others’ suffering – suffering that has previously existed but was largely ignored.

In western culture all individuals are assumed to be self-interested; all shock is assumed to produce a fight-or-flight response; all narratives are assumed to require conflict; all villains are assumed to be evil; all social exchange, politics, and even the natural world are assumed to be driven by competition and won by domination. These are false, incomplete assumptions.

If we continue with these assumptions, we continue to feed a growing wealth divide, apocalyptic climate change, and a useless internet centred on advertising and shock.

The stress theory of tend-and-befriend shows us that individuals are not purely self-interested and that shock does not only produce brutality or fear. We posit that the antidote to shock is not to dominate, not to disconnect, not to continue to ignore, but to take collective responsibility. The antidote for shock is to care.

Care builds understanding, action, and connection. Care provides insight, healing and agency. Systems built on care are stronger than those built on non-consensual domination and fear. We seek mutually beneficial outcomes and utopian futures.

Video games are a natural place to explore and to prototype systems of care. We assert that video games have not only the ability but also the responsibility to explore care, systems of care, and utopian futures.

We will not give our futures to our oppressors. Care is our way forward.

Carewave formed in reaction to this increasing interconnectedness and shock, but carewave is also a natural expression of our humanity. We are not individual actors, our paths are not linear, and life is not a zero-sum game. Video games that provide fun through shock, fight-or-flight mechanics, conflict, power fantasies, dehumanized villains, zero-sum outcomes, and other expressions of non-consensual domination are incomplete expressions of what it is to be human.

Now, we put aside these video games and all other artworks that make false and incomplete assumptions about ourselves. We create artworks that care.

2. Objectives & Principles

Carewave participants collectively take responsibility for and use the power inherent in media creation to propagate care and dreams of caring social structures and caring utopian futures to each other and to the world.

We value trust and consent.

We value context, exploration and learning.

We value creation and cultivation.

We value connection and collective strength.

We value transcendent insight, mutually beneficial outcomes, and utopian visions.

We value healing.

We value profound joy and agency.

A. Care

Care is a consensual exchange that brings all parties towards mindfulness, empathy, and understanding; inspiration and action; strength and connection; purpose and insight; safety, rejuvenation and healing; and joy, peace, and agency.

Care requires trust and consent.

Care is a consensual exchange.
Care requires ongoing trust and consent throughout the exchange.

Care considers context.

Care is exploring and learning.
Care is paying attention.
Care is seeking out and listening to silenced voices.
Care is taking responsibility.
Care is not naive.
Care may require patience, perseverance, and resilience.
Care brings all parties towards mindfulness, empathy, and understanding of each other.
Care counters unjust imbalances of power.

Care creates and cultivates.

Care is action.
Care is not inaction in the face of injustice.
Care is vision, design, direction, testing, and adaptation.
Care is not dormancy, stagnation, or anti-progress.
Care is sustaining.

Care is connection.

Care is collective strength.
Care is not weak.
Care prioritizes people above goals.
Care is stronger than domination, brutality, or fear.

Care leads to transcendent insight.

Care is a revolutionary response to a world overwhelmed by shock.
Care finds mutually beneficial outcomes.
Care envisions and examines new and ambitious futures.

Care promotes healing.

Care welcomes all parties towards safety, rejuvenation, and healing.
Care nurtures and restores.

Care leads to agency.

Care is freedom and profound joy.
Care is a celebration.
Care is an expression of our humanity.
Care is utopia.

B. Carewave

Carewave is a utopian movement of artworks that care. It is a movement of creators, audiences, and artworks taking responsibility for the power and influence we have as media creators and curators and collectively using this power to propagate visions of great worlds, where care is woven throughout our social structures and cultures.

Carewave values trust and consent.

Carewave is creators, audiences, and artworks that care.
Carewave is a movement that cares.
Carewave is for all people who share the values and goals of carewave.
Carewave listens and asks for feedback.
Carewave is not perfect, is not the only way, and is not the best way.
Carewave practices, learns, and teaches care.

Carewave considers context.

Carewave prioritizes and centres marginalized people.
Carewave is intersectional.
Carewave is accessible, global, queer, and feminist.
Carewave is anti-ablelist, anti-racist, anti-ethnocentric, anti-xenophobic, anti-colonialism, anti-transphobic, anti-femmephobic, anti-homophobic, anti-misogynist, anti-sexist, anti-ageist, and anti-classist.
Carewave values different backgrounds and teamwork.
Carewave is a resistance.
Carewave rejects the fake idea of meritocracy.
Carewave is anti-capitalist.
Carewave is anti-fascist and anti-militarist.
Carewave is environmentalist.
Carewave takes responsibility to practice self-care and to care for each other.
Carewave takes responsibility to model care for others.
Carewave recognizes the impact of each person’s influence in a connected world.

Carewave makes spaces for creating and cultivating.

Carewave makes spaces where caring creators, audiences, and artworks can flourish.
Carewave experiments and evolves.
Carewave gives and receives feedback with care, learns from mistakes, and makes amends.
Carewave creates and cultivates.

Carewave connects.

Carewave is vulnerable and honest.
Carewave is collective strength.
Carewave is collective power.
Carewave is strong.
Carewave connects creators, audiences, and artworks.
Carewave explores systems.

Carewave makes opportunities for mutually beneficial outcomes and prototypes utopian systems.

Carewave is an exploration of care, systems of care, social systems of care, ecological systems of care, and utopia.
Carewave rejects power fantasies, dehumanized villains, zero-sum outcomes, and other expressions of non-consensual domination.
Carewave rejects dystopia.
Carewave takes responsibility to imagine and build towards the futures we want.

Carewave promotes healing.

Carewave rejects shock.
Carewave cares.

Carewave promotes agency.

Carewave creators care for each other.
Carewave creators care for their audiences.
Carewave audiences care for their creators.
Carewave audiences care for each other.
Carewave artworks care for their creators.
Carewave artworks care for their audiences.
Carewave creators, audience, and artworks care for the world.

C. Carewave Media

Carewave artworks are made in any medium: Carewave artworks are interactive or non-interactive or blur the lines between interactivity and non-interactivity. Carewave grew out of video games and has a foundation in connectedness, interactivity, and systems.

D. Carewave Games

“Video games” is any piece of electronic interactive art or entertainment in popular parlance and we reclaim this term as such.

Video games and interactive art and entertainment lack inclusive and precise vocabulary. “Video games” as an academic term tends to include conflict as a defining factor to separate games from other interactive experiences. Carewave rejects this delineation as privileging one stress response over another. It is harmful to creators’ imaginations, harmful to audiences, and harmful to the world.

Carewave games include marginalized audiences in their target audiences.
Carewave games model creation, cultivation, and connection, not domination.
Carewave games provide mutually beneficial outcomes, not zero-sum outcomes.
Carewave games are systemic webs of exploration, creation, cultivation, and mutually beneficial outcomes, not linear chains of zero-sum conflicts or puzzles to be won or solved.
Carewave games are prototypes of utopian systems.

Carewave games can be intentional or can be games used by players for that purpose even though they weren’t created with that purpose in mind.

E. Domination

Domination is the forceful opposition to or removal of consent from another being’s physical or psychological safety or agency.

Carewave rejects non-consensual domination.

Carewave does not reject violent resistance in countering domination.

Carewave does not reject BDSM, kink, and related activities which might simulate the removal of consent while still practicing consent.

Carewave does not reject depictions of domination. Carewave recognizes that depictions of domination necessitates responsibility and mindfulness because even critical depictions may encourage imitation.

3. Guides

A. Carewave Content

Carewave artworks establish trust and consent.

Carewave artworks consider context and are tools for exploration and learning.
Carewave artworks are tools for creation and cultivation.
Carewave artworks may be tools for connection and collective strength.
Carewave artworks may be tools for exploration, cultivation, or connection regarding the self, social systems, ecological systems, or our futures.
Carewave artworks may explore topics such as self-care, meditation, education, self-improvement, strengths development, crafting, gardening, farming, witchcraft, inclusivity, shared creation, tend-and-befriend, Afrofuturism, solarpunk, ecosystems, and utopian settings.

Carewave artworks provide transcendent insight, opportunities for mutually beneficial outcomes, and utopian visions.
Carewave artworks are tools for insight into the self, social systems, ecological systems, and our futures.
Carewave artworks may or may not explore difficult topics.
Carewave artworks expose ignorance and bias, with care.
Carewave artworks may or may not contain conflict.
Carewave artworks may or may not contain challenge.
Carewave artworks do not present conflict as a system to win for fun.
Carewave artworks resolve conflict with care and mutually beneficial outcomes, if conflict is present.
Carewave artworks provide aftercare after a conflict.
Carewave artworks show the direct, indirect, and systemic consequences of actions.
Carewave artworks that critique specific instances of domination also propose alternatives.

Carewave values healing.
Carewave artworks are tools for healing the self, social systems, ecological systems, and our futures.

Carewave values profound joy and agency.
Carewave artworks may leave their audiences in a state of care and/or having been cared for.
Carewave artworks may leave their audiences inspired to transfer these states and feelings to others.
Carewave artworks may leave their audiences inspired to dream of caring social structures and caring utopian futures.

Carewave creators create with trust and consent.

We treat ourselves and each other with care.
We respect each others’ consent regarding content, time, money, emotional investment, and other investments.

Carewave creators consider context. They explore and learn.
We include audiences and other affected parties in the development process through methods such as co-design, consultation with represented and/or target groups, and early and frequent playtesting.

Carewave creators create and cultivate.
We create artworks; spaces for creators, artworks, and audiences to thrive; and channels for artworks to reach audiences.
We work together to grow these spaces and channels over time.  

Carewave creators collaborate with each other and with our audiences.
We prioritize community above hierarchy.
We acknowledge, thank, and compensate those involved in the creation of the artwork, especially those who give emotional labor.
We give, receive, respond to, and learn from feedback with care.

Carewave creators seek insight, mutually beneficial outcomes, and utopian visions.
We understand how unconscious bias and group dynamics can affect marginalized creators and seek to counter bias and build balanced teams.
We understand the power in media creation and take responsibility for that power.

Carewave creators heal.
We pay attention to ourselves and to each other and we take breaks when needed.

Carewave creators have agency.
We have ownership over our work.
We consider all team members’ input.

Carewave creators and artworks foster trust and consent with our audiences.
We respect and strive to deserve the trust placed in us by our audiences.
We use content warnings to allow audiences to consent.
Inside our works, we query our audiences periodically to maintain ongoing consent.
We use pricing models that respect ongoing consent.
We are transparent about the price of the complete work.
We are transparent about the price of add-ons and other continued payment schedules. We do not provide pay-to-win purchases.
We do not provide gambling systems such as loot boxes.

Carewave creators and artworks consider many contexts from which our audiences may be approaching the work. We centre marginalized people.
We do not exploit traumatic situations to create shock, drama, or fun.
When we depict traumatic situations, we give victims a voice.
We include all people regardless of their appearance, health status, ability, ethnicity, geographic origin, religion or belief, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, gender, sex, education, profession, socioeconomic status, or other personal characteristics.
We celebrate the differences between people.
We strive to represent and give voice to all people.
We provide enough tools in avatar customization to include all people, considering different hair types, body types, and non-binary genders.
We provide ongoing avatar customization that can be changed after initial creation.
We make no assumptions about individual people.

B. Developing from the Heart

Carewave values creation and cultivation.
We give tools for audiences to create and to express themselves and to take care of things.

Carewave values connection and collective strength.
We give tools for audiences to connect with each other.

Carewave values transcendent insight, mutually beneficial outcomes, and utopian visions.
We create systemic experiences that are tools for our audiences to deepen their understanding of systems.
We create opportunities for our audiences to reach mutually beneficial outcomes with other players or with characters.
We create opportunities for our audiences to look into their hearts.
We create opportunities for our audiences to discover and to develop their unique strengths.
We create opportunities for our audiences to dream.

Carewave values healing.
We recognize that not everyone is stimulated by challenge.
When we choose to include challenge, we provide meaningful difficulty selections that are respectful to people who aren’t stimulated by challenge.
We recognize that increasing difficulty and death can leave audiences feeling more frustrated than when they began playing.
We provide natural exit points at calm moments.
We include pause, save, and quit options where relevant.

Carewave values profound joy and agency.
Inside interactive works, we query our audiences about their needs and preferences and adapt to reflect that agency.
We provide spaces for agency for people who are marginalized.
We do not remove agency from people who are marginalized.
We create tools for our audiences to improve their lives.
We create tools for our audiences to improve the world.

C. caring for our audience

Carewave creators and artworks consider the context in which our creations will exist, and encourage exploration and learning.
We ask our audiences: What future do you want to live in?
We are mindful of power imbalances in the world.
We do not reinforce harmful power structures.
We do not exploit the experiences of the vulnerable as entertainment for the powerful.

D. Caring for the World

Carewave creators and artworks create and cultivate new forms and new ideas.
Carewave creators and artworks seek collective strength.
Carewave creators and artworks seek utopian visions of a healing and healed world.
We prototype and iterate on new narrative forms.
We move past conflict as a narrative device.
We move past the Hero’s Journey.
We prototype and iterate on new social forms.
We prototype and iterate on new economic systems.
We prototype and iterate on caring social structures and social systems.
We prototype and iterate on utopian futures.

Carewave creators and artwork seek a world of profound joy and agency.
We are mindful of the powerful influence of art, media, and entertainment on everyone’s unconscious and conscious decisions.
We take responsibility for this power.
We use this power to propagate care.
We use our influence to build towards utopian futures.

4. Other Resources

This is an evolving list of media that has inspired carewave so far.

“Utopia lies at the horizon.

When I draw nearer by two steps, it retreats two steps.

If I proceed ten steps forward, it swiftly slips ten steps ahead.

No matter how far I go, I can never reach it.

What, then, is the purpose of utopia?

It is to cause us to advance.”

~Eduardo Galeano