Lillyanne Pham



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Lillyanne Pham, Maria Mejia, Gavrielle Thompson, Bea Yeh, Maria Mayorya, Chanel Matsunami Govreau, virtual care lab , Roz Crews, Candace Avalos

For Fall 2021 Art & Social Practice History at Portland State University, I explored the social simulation game Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) as a digital altar. I asked How do social simulation games provide a dream space, a neighborhood btwn IRL and URL relationships? How is online gardening similar to sanctuary making, altar making? My co-conspirators offered me Fuck Tom Nook. In other words, should we build an altar in a capitalist, escapist, and colonialist dystopia? This project @digitalaltar held space for ACNH players to 1) confront these questions & 2) flaunt their islands/works of art These “playing” cards are an IRL materialization of @digitalaltar which is fully archived on YouTube:

Contributor bios:

Maria Mejia: As a first generation Mexican- American, my work centers around the Mexican-American experience, identity, and storytelling as a multimedia artist. Much of my inspiration comes from media consumption, the experience of a day-to-day life, and stories passed down through generations. My inspirations have allowed me to explore different themes of individuality and social change. All of my work can be found on my art instagram artebymiia which acts as an archive for my projects.

Maria Mayorya (they/she) is a transportation planner and public health professional whose goals for her government and nonprofit work are sustainable communities and racial justice. She applies her lived experiences in Manila, Los Angeles, and Portland—from her sports fandom, queerness, and immigrant status— to her advocacy, planning, and relationships in Oregon and beyond.

Chanel Matsunami Govreau is an interdisciplinary artist and educator based in Brooklyn, NY. Chanel explores themes of fantasy, queerness, and Japanese-diasporic identity through installation, screen printing, photography, and performance. Being a multi-hyphenated individual -mixed race, pansexual and Asian American- they live at the intersections of sometimes disparate communities. They seek to build worlds where folks with intersectional identities can exist with infinite belonging and engage in radical play.

virtual care lab is a series of creative experiments in remote connection.

virtual care lab : Elenie is a filmmaker from Trinidad and Tobago. She is currently based in Los Angeles.

virtual care lab : My name is Richard Phu and I am an independent fashion designer from Toronto. My work explores syncretic methodologies using the site of multiple bodies for the convergence of environments. I like reading, writing and playing video games.

virtual care lab : Taylor is a poet, writer, and researcher masquerading as a computer science student at the University of Michigan. She is interested in too many things to count including practices and ideology around work and leisure, white culture, spiritual practices for nonreligious people, and making inquiry-based, culturally-situated curriculums.

virtual Care Lab: Alice Yuan Zhang is a new media artist, educator, and cultural organizer based in Los Angeles. Her practice explores relational ecologies and digital commoning.

Gavrielle Thompson - NO BIO

Roz Crews is an artist and educator considering the intersections of learning and experiencing.

Bea Yeh moved to Portland, Oregon from San Francisco, CA in 1999 to attend Reed College. She graduated in 2003 with a BA in English after completing her thesis exploring poetry written by Chinese immigrants while detained at the Angel Island Immigration Station from 1910 – 1940. After pursuing educational and professional experiences in Medical Anthropology and Veterinary Medicine, Bea decided to found a non-profit art organization called Cloud.Break. The mission of Cloud.Break is to curate sanctuary: to create unique art worlds in unexpected places where healing and dialogue can occur. Bea is an artist, environmentalist, non-profit administrator, curator, and event producer: she has worked for the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts, and, most recently, the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Bea completed her MS in Arts Administration and Museum Studies from the University of Oregon after completing her thesis exploring how museum exhibitions can create transformative educational experiences for visitors. Social justice, empowered healing, and community fortitude are intertwined in all the work Bea undertakes including event production. As the APANO Community & Event Space Manager, Bea will bring her experience to co-create and lead a space that courageously imagines a just and equitable world where community is celebrated, and sanctuary is everywhere.

Candace Avalos is a first generation American “Blacktina”, daughter of Black Americans from the south and Guatemalan immigrants. Originally from Virginia, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Modern Foreign Languages, with a focus on Spanish and Italian, and Master of Education degree in College Student Personnel Administration from James Madison University. Prior to her venture into the nonprofit world, she worked at Portland State University for 8 years providing civic engagement education and advising support for student leaders. She lives in NE Portland and is an active member of her community, such as a co-founder of the Black Millennial Movement, serving on the Citizen Review Committee and Charter Review Commission for the City of Portland, as well as on the boards of Portland: Neighbors Welcome, Street Roots, and the Oregon Kickball Club. Her hobbies include watching cooking shows, reading social justice literature, playing outdoor sports, and walking and biking around Portland. Mi nombre en español es Candis Ávalos.

Key Words

video games, altars, digital spaces, neighborhood


self published

Original Format

Twitch and Youtube


The Art and Social Practice Archive materials are made available to the public under Creative Commons for personal, educational and non-commercial use within the parameters of "fair use" as defined under U.S. copyright law. No material will be reproduced, broadcast or distributed for commercial purposes.

Animal Crossing As A @DigitalAltar