DAY 9     May 14th

2097: We Made Ourselves Over &  PSY-SOMA-TEK

Ju Row Farr, Susan Ploetz


Talk and Conversation

2097: We Made Ourselves Over

Time: 12noon - 1pm
2097 was a science fiction project that took participants on a journey into an imagined future. Blast Theory worked with diverse communities from Hull in the UK and Aarhus in Denmark to develop visions of the world in 2097. Five sci-fi films were shot on location across the two cities, starring a local cast. An interactive app accompanied the films and audiences took part in live immersive experiences in Hull and Aarhus.

Inspired by the respective histories of communities in Aarhus and Hull,  Blast Theory worked with dozens of residents, from Year 10 students and over-60’s groups, to those looking to create change in their cities with everything from shipping containers to crypto-currencies while drawing on the work of futurologists, technologists and climate scientists.

LARP (interactive)


Time: 1pm - 3pm

Throughout April 2021, Susan Ploetz is developing a series of iterative role plays, podcasts, and one-on-one appointments where participants will explore a variety of embodied extra-sensory techniques inside the fictional framing of a speculative institution called PSY-SOMA-TEK. Founded by a mysterious figure in a time of crisis, the institute seeks to create sustainable psy-somatic technologies to find missing people, see into the past and future, communicate and connect across distances, decentralize knowledge and extend powers to those in need and more when the techno-suprastructures of the old order have started to fall apart. For Blend and Bleed, Ploetz will talk a bit about the project and lead a small sample of a role play from the  PSY-SOMA-TEK institute. Participants will spend some time creating characters beforehand and will explore a somatic telepathy exercise within the world together. More information will be sent after signing-up.

Susan Ploetz

Susan Ploetz (US/DE) is an artist-researcher working with somatics, theory, writing, performance, simulation and live action role plays (larping) in different configurations. Her work deals with the overlapping spaces of soma and technos; she uses imagination, magical materiality, and protocol to induce emancipatory emotive dissonances and perceptual expansion. She explores body-centered game design and narrative-building play as co-creative world-making that develops individual agency within spontaneous, ephemeral, decentralized communities.

She has presented work at such institutions as the Berliner Festspiele, Oude Kerk, Sophiensaele, ABC Art Fair, Rupert (Vilnius), Documenta 13, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Aoyama Gakuin University (Tokyo), and Performa. She has been a guest artist/teacher, lectured or given workshops at Universität der Kunst Berlin, Gerrit Reitveld Academie, Piet Zwart Institute, the DAAD, the Pervasive Media Studio (Bristol), SUNY Buffalo, and the Dutch Art Institute.

Ju Row Farr

Ju Row Farr trained in dance and went on to study for a BA in Fine Art/Textiles at Goldsmiths. In 1991 she co-founded artists’ group Blast Theory.

Blast Theory creates interactive art to explore social and political questions, placing audience members at the centre of the work. They draw on popular culture, performance, technology and games, the work often blurring the boundaries between the real and the fictional. In virtual and physical spaces from pubs, canals and abandoned warehouses to libraries, museums and apps, Blast Theory have presented their work at the Venice Biennale, Sundance Film Festival and Tate Britain. Their awards include 4 BAFTA nominations, the Golden Nica for Interactive Arts at Prix Ars Electronica and the Nam June Paik, Art Centre Prize.

Ju has contributed to many academic papers with the Mixed Reality Lab, University of Nottingham, whom Blast Theory has collaborated with since 1997. She has taught and spoken extensively about Blast Theory’s work around the world, from UCLA, to De Montfort University, from Belgrade’s Play UK 2020 and as a Thinker in Residence for the South Australian Government in 2004.