• c0ntent 

early 15c., "to rest or be satisfied; to give satisfaction to," from Old French contenter (from content (adj.) "satisfied") and Medieval Latin contentare, both from Latin contentus "contained; satisfied," past participle of continere "to hold together, enclose," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + tenere "to hold" (from PIE root *ten- "to stretch"). Sense connection of "contained" and "satisfied" probably is that the contented person's desires are bound by what he or she already has weaved together". 

C

Critical Empathy

D

Decentralized Directing

E

Embodiment
Emergent Gameplay

G

Group Relations

P

Pluralism
Plasticity

R

Role Play

S

Scores

T

Transindiviual
Transdividuum


  • c0ntext theories

"to weave together," 1540s, verb from Latin contexere "to weave together"


Reflection and Theory around Role Play, Collective Worlding, Non-linear Narration and Embodied Research.



  • 0N Role Play

Exquisite Corpse

How the fictionalizing of the body and use of somatic techniques can turn the players body into a play ground, allowing them to explore alternate selves, and subvert existing narrations and projections it is subjected to.

#Embodiment #Pluralism #Plasticity #Role Play



This is an Invitation to Conspire

Article tracing the emergence of Role Play as a medium within the Arts

#Live Action Role Play



  • 0N Narration



No More Heros Please

Argument for abandonning the hero on his search for individual growth and give room to non-linear and collective narratives that take place aside his trodden path.







Exquisite Corpse


Carina Erdmann


1


‘Dark energy and dark matter are invisible to us. We only know of their existence because of their effect on visible bodies. It presents an interesting question. How to visualize the invisible? Or, to go a step further, how to visualize the, as yet, impossible? The difficulty of imagining something that is as yet outside of our conscious ’system’, beyond not only our understanding, but beyond that which we can ever imagine imagining.’

Excerpt from the script of Prototypes II

Apocalypse narratives are ubiquitous in media and the algorithms of Netflix seem to predict, that the masses are to entertain with ever new or also not so new versions of world endings, populated with the abducted zombies1 or the recasting of the same old hero myth with a female cast that still fails to break with the exclusive logic of its narration. Captivated in the self-perpetuating and increasingly automated scripts the dying world is navel-gazing, entranced with its own fall from grace.

While the threat of an uninhabitable planet still manifests to some mostly as uncomfortable sensations of guilt that can be sucked up with the symbolic bamboo straw or repurposed noodle, to others perpetual apocalypses presents a state of being or threat thereof and many of the techniques and tactics that are traced in this text are owed to their legacy and necessity for ‘otherworlding’.

Against the crisis of imagination, also diagnosed as ‘depressive ontology’2 (The impossibility to envision a future that is different than the past), exercises in Collective Worlding may open ourselves to other forms of knowing, reconnect us to our sensual and social bodies, and lay foundations for new forms of cohabitation.

There are many conceptions of what the activity of worldingentails. It encompasses anything from the invention of fantastic cosmologies, utopias or futures you can believe in, to the formation of new reality systems and the active construction of viable systemic alternatives4. While these activities are of fundamentally different nature I will benefit from their descriptive likeness to speak of them sometimes interchangeably so that the fictional may slip into reality in passing and vice versa. The focus however will lie on Worlding as a metaphysical activity and conscious practice that acknowledges difference and considers the consequences of softening boundaries between epistemology and ontology.

A world is a specific frame of reference that defines how we perceive and relate to base reality. Ian Cheng5 describes worlds as artificial and yet living entities that require care. They need us to believe in them to protect us from the overwhelming complexity of raw sensual data.

These conditions that sustain a world, also naturalize its construction, perpetuating a law-like structure that demands the submission of its inhabitants. And while it may trick us by weaving the fabric around us with invisible thread, this tight knit cocoon must unravel eventually as all worlds come to an end. Either because the ‘model’ becomes outdated or because the conditions it produces are unlivable.

Let us follow Denise Ferreira da Silvaand Federico Campagnain the assumption that ‘Western Modernity’ faces a similar fate. Dissolving the illusion of a ‘common world’, that appears already co-opted by satisfying hegemonic claims for (its) order, let us take the underlying theory of multiple worlds as a point of departure for exercises in Collective Worlding.

As a training ground for imaginative flexibility, I want to explore how Role Play Games (RPGs) can foster simultaneous stories and colliding worlds through the creation and negotiation of a shared gamespace. To revise a world means to look at it repeatedly in a new light. Worlding is also the unmaking of the world: it requires us to rethink our relation to the environment and our own role within it. This is where worlding in its metaphysical sense of the word comes in handy. Instead of trying to fix a broken system, we can change ‘the world’ by reconfiguring its frame of reference.

But how to think of frameworks for an unrealized world?8

Instead of starting from scratch or zooming in from a scientific abstraction and distance that recalls the map-making of settler colonial forms of ‘Worlding’9 (Including attempts to ‘bring to light’ the submerged part of the psyche or ‘decode’ the human brain through analysis, that extend the enlightenment project into the inside ‘territory’.), I want to introduce artistic strategies of (Un)worlding that produce flexible, relational, opaque, incoherent (inter)subjectivities and above all include the body with all its senses into the narration of the self.


Imagine a small version of yourself balancing on this I.

Look at yourself. How is your posture? Do you seem stable? Feel relaxed?

Can you make yourself comfortable?

Now watch the letter I with intent. Feel its imprint in your own eye.

Imagine with it the imprint of the small self that rests on it.

Feel how your projection is slipping of the I and out of sight into the black hole that is your pupil.

Here you start to take any shape you want to be.

Create a fiction of yourself. We all do.

Can you see yourself projected on the inner wall of your eye?

How do you feel?

What do you desire?

Your fear?

Your trick?

Your paradox?

Think of one memory that you try to forget.

Exercise from Playscript Alter Ego, Olga Terre, 2020


The tabletop RPG ‘After the Maestro’ by Tom K. Kemp is set within an ‘anthropomorphized anatomy’. It depicts the inner human body as an industrialized city and draws from its existing narrativization that ranges from the body as state, territory, factory, and machine and serves to naturalize sovereign power, war, or the atomization of labor and technology. Tom’s work aims at complicating and subverting such oversimplified and scientifically inaccurate models that are projected onto the body.

Listening to the recording of the play sessions it becomes clear just how inescapable the metaphoric weight of the body seems to be. Metaphors are an integral part of translating abstract concepts and feelings into tangible experiences. Our cognition is embodied.10

Mental models are physical brain circuits that derive meaning through the nervous system of the body. Neural mappings are created unconsciously through their navigation and interaction with the physical world. These ‘primary metaphors’ are directional, which may explain how the subterranean dungeon offers an intuitive metaphor for the concept of mind that divides the psyche into top and sub.

In his essay ‘Dungeoneering11, Tom maps out the conceptual architecture and eerie12 quality of the dungeon tracing its legacy in TableTop Role Playing Games (TTRPGs) like Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) which has been influenced by the war game (Kriegspiel) and is itself influential on early developments of computer programming.

Incidentally in one of the play sessions, Matt Colquhoun aka Xenogothic is playing a group of young Spermatozoa, effectively impotent characters with a desire for conquest, hanging around in the ‘lower parts’ and are compared to aimless disenfranchised teenagers hanging out in their basements. The other two guests Lucy and Sean of the horror philosophy podcast Wyrd Signal, personify the Pineal Glandt that starts the game by putting the body to sleep, and Toxoplasma-gondii, an opportunistic parasite that spreads (mis-)information to bring the city in contact with other cities. Tom himself plays the heart of an old harbor city which when drained in an act of revolt reveals the old version of the city that was once built on the belief that intent started in the heart.

Through multiple play sessions in which Tom engages different groups of invited guests in the ‘Collective Bodybuilding’, he is able to observe how his game mechanics bring to life different forms of anatomical (re)organizations.  Alongside most of the practices outlined in this text, also Tom centers the Worldbuilding process in his game design. Rather than trying to bring the players into the artist's subjective fiction, the game offers heuristics and categories that players interpret themselves.

It makes me think of Shelley Jackson’s ‘Patchwork Girl’ from 1995, a piece of hypertext fiction that invites the reader into a re-creation of a female body freed from its organizing force. The interactive narrative lets the players choose their own story that defines the order in which the body is sewn together, not unlike a body is written and created through life, rather than a static identity that corresponds to shaping expectations upon it (eg. to the reproductive function of the body.)

Creating renders of the speculative bodies he illustrates the different outbirths of ‘emancipatory body-horror’. These assemblages appear to slip into the realm of the undead, a place that also historically has been drawn out of and by a process of subjugation and the haunted bodies it produces. (Eg. folktales that demonized the ostracized during the gothic period.13) Another play session run with the crew of ‘Buddies Without Organs’, a podcast dedicated to the intriguing figure developed by Deleuze and Guattari, it is then not surprising that eventually the ‘Body without Organs’ is brought to the table. Their pill does not promise a cure.


Most Cities eventually crumble - what will happen to ours?  ― Quote from Play Script of After the Maestro


Styleframe for After the Maestro

With a homeopath as a mother, the idea that our organs are affected by both immediate emotional states as well as transgenerational trauma accompanied me from childhood. Likewise, the impression of the 1996 film Body Troopers, in which a boy travels through the ailing body of his grandfather to dissolve his kidney stone with a reservoir of held-back tears to dance with his dead grandmother residing in the heart. The anthropomorphized organs represented vivid illustrations of the communicative pursuits that a holistic approach assigns to them.

‘Sick Woman Theory’14 argues that all of our bodies and brains bear the scars of oppression and insists that most modes of political protest are internalized, embodied and ultimately invisible. Framing dis-order15 as a rupture to a given and evidently sickening system corresponds to the artistic and activist strategy that delineates a movement away from reforming the outside world to a resistance that turns to a reframing of the inner.

To consider it an effective strategy it must avoid collapsing complexity into a binary of inside and outside nor shall it offer up the body as a battlefield. In her book ‘Disease and Its Metaphors’ from 1989, Susan Sontag describes the harm that metaphors of consumption have caused to herself as a cancer patient. In the follow-up book16 gearing her analysis towards AIDS, she problematizes the commonly used military and invasion metaphors that frame the disease as a war against the virus which ultimately victimizes the patient and possibly makes them die as ‘losers of a fight’.

In ‘Deep Nation’ a Live Action Role Play (LARP) designed by Omsk Social Club in collaboration with a group of artists that created the characters for the game, I played a sentient tumor, shortly after my father had been diagnosed with cancer. ‘TOMMY’, conceived by Naomi Bisley, was charming, power-hungry, and enjoyed a distaste for memory. Despite the obvious strangeness to embody cancer in this way, playing from its completely nonhuman perspective momentarily lifted some weight off Damokle’s sword. In the end, ‘TOMMY’ teamed up with ‘Love’ and convinced the other characters to open up to the potential of uncontrolled cell growth.

Sontag's theories have also been influential to the writing process of the RPG ‘Draconis Lacrimae’ a collaboration by Pablo Esbert and Federico Vladimir Strate, which is in part a coming to terms with the HIV virus within their own bodies. In the foreword that is essentially a love letter, Federico brings up the figure of ‘The Virus’ as narrator of their relationship. Next to it appears ‘The Adventurer’ that portrays their past, the shared identity constructed through migration, trauma, and settlement. As a figure to extend their couple the transcultural archetype of the dragon is brought in and in swallowing the other two, embodies their community. 17

The game design becomes a self-exploratory journey that is presented both as an autobiographical performance piece as well as a Player’s Handbook opening the process to potential players. In many RPGs, the game starts with character creation, allowing the players to personalize their Roles and decide on their desired level of ‘Bleed’ (the spillover between character and player). Here this part plunges right into the bloodstream. In a process spanning over multiple evenings, carefully crafted exercises invite a deep dive into the multiple layers and tissues of the self: Players introduce themselves as their ancestors, write an ‘Emo Bio’ that narrates their most emotional moments in life, recall personal memories on political or historical events or make a guts striptease.


GUTS STRIPTEASE: A SPECULATIVE CARTOGRAPHIC BIO-NARRATION

Starting from the top of your head, tell yourself the history of your body: what you like, what you don't, scars, traumas, hang-ups, glorified parts, g-spots… Don’t forget the insides: virus, illnesses, organs and inner sensations. Include how you felt about your body as a kid or a teenager (and how you felt you were perceived) up to the present day.

While doing this exercise, let yourself be driven by memory and perception but also imagination. What attributes would you like your body to have? What other fictional traits may appear? Let that third eye appear on your chest; or give a voice to your left hand, the one that keeps all your secrets.
― Exercise from Handbook of Draconis Lacrimae

2


From there the character-building steers into categorization. Introduced with the ironic slogan ‘Hypertag yourself. Saturate your life with identity’, it reminds us how instrumentalization and marketing of identities reduce the complexity of the lived experience. 18 As another way that categories give shape to our self-image the game picks up the archetypes of Dungeons and Dragons. The use of archetypes evokes many ways in which personhood has been further imprisoned through essentialist, discriminatory, and supposedly universal features.19

In ‘Draconis Lacrimae’ the transcultural archetype of the Dragon becomes the Dungeon that the players collectively try to escape. It is the structure that they are trapped in but also the figure that narrates their community.‘It’s body as a multiverse, is the self that has been recognized as the others within. The body as container of other bodies, of fictions, fictions such as ghosts, organs and viruses’ 20

The following parts of the game, players construct the inner anatomy of the dragon and narrate a plot through free play, ‘conflict organs’ and worldbuilding mechanics derived from a more recent breed of RPGs that have no ‘Game Master’ and center collective creation and negotiation.21

Spread from After Action Report of Draconis Lacrimae

How we tell stories also matters in relation to the way we narrate ourselves. Carl Jung defined archetypes as symbols and personality patterns, deriving from shared ‘primordial images’ within our collective unconscious. His process of individuation runs alongside ‘The Hero's Journey’ a story told from the perspective of a single individual who goes on an adventure, is victorious in a decisive crisis, and comes home changed or transformed. Joseph Campell derived this ‘Monomyth’ from his structural analysis in comparative literature. First published in 1949 it is still majorly influential on the way contemporary media fabricates role models ‘on demand’ and is also inscribed in the automation processes of narrative scripts. While these formulas doubtlessly function as valuable support also to interactive fiction that relies on relatable prompts, they risk mindless perpetuation for the sake of comfort that keeps us marching behind the hero down the same trodden path.

Doireann O'Malley's Prototypes series addresses the way psychoanalysis has enacted traditional role models in relation to gender and offers alternative forms of subjectivity. The films take the viewer into a dream-like otherworld through floating camera movement that follows a group of protagonists on a process of unraveling and rebuilding of self in a world void of binary paradigms. For the filmmaking process of the first two chapters, LARP is employed as an improvisation technique mainly to create a fictional frame for the real protagonists to perform themselves or a version of themselves. They chose different names but drew from their own dreams, memories, and embodied experiences.

Prototypes I: Quantum Leaps in Trans Semiotics through Psycho-Analytical Snail Serum (2017) explores new perspectives on trans identity through the lens of post-psychoanalytical methodologies, conjuring figures of hermaphrodite snails as well as Karen Barad's theories that intertwine feminism with physics to challenge the fraud biological determinism used to naturalize gender binaries: ‘[An] electron’s very nature is unnatural, not given, not fixed, but forever transitioning and transforming itself.’22

In Prototype II: The Institute for the Enrichment of Computer Aided Post Gendered Prototypes (2018) a holographic host introduces the  protagonists to the making and unmaking of their binarized gendered identities. Finally, letting them choose whether they wish to cross through the portal into a genderless multiverse where an alternative version of themselves exists.


What is your relationship to your body? How do you feel in your body? What is your relationship to being a body in space? How would you describe your body? How would you describe your personality? What do you think of when you think of your environment? Do you feel different? What do you think of yourself being different from? When you were young did you feel different? How does difference make you feel? How do you think your body and your thoughts communicate or relate to each other? Is your gender a part of that communication?
― Excerpt from the script of Prototypes II


Video still of Prototypes II, Doireann O'Malley, 2018

Imagining scenarios in an emotionally neutral place can change our attitude toward that place in reality.23 The more immersed people tend to get into 'becoming' a fictional character, the more they use the same part of the brain to think about the character as they do to think about themselves.24 People make their own brains, Imagine if they knew that and ‘they could construct and entertain a relation with their brain as the image of a world to come’.25 I wonder if and how Role Play can support the transformation of the brain’s plasticity into mental ‘freedom.’ 

Said potential to ‘decode’ and ‘recode’ our brain comes with different implications. For once, the brain-computer metaphor is reductive, limiting, and harmful when considering the impact it has on our self-understanding and is reinscribed through predictive coding, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and Social engineering.

QAnon managed to recruit a large group of ‘researchers’ through guided apophenia and game mechanics that railroad players on the pleasurable path laid out with breadcrumbs in the form of small dopamine hits as the unknowing players are made to believe that it is them that ‘discover’ new clues.26

The participatory nature of games runs the risk of performing an illusion of agency. In some way though, most art could be seen as a form of manipulation, as it hides its educative intentions and engrained worldview by making the viewer believe that they make their own conclusions while oftentimes crafting a skillful path for thoughts to travel.27

This is not a call however to give up on the agency altogether. It rather calls to question: How to listen? How to create enabling structures? Here the notion of distance is useful. Both, the distance that lies between the intention of the artist’s work and the attentive focus of its prosumer but also within the player's self. Role Play offers a form of the double consciousness of being immersed and simultaneously observing one's own actions and reactions.

In her article ‘Wyrding the self’, Jonaya Kemper reflects on LARP as a tool to release the body from internalized oppression and bias by taking on roles other than those that society may commonly prescribe to it.28 Here Role Play becomes a form of ‘disidentification’29 from assigned social roles. Her writing is a call, especially to those who do not fall into the ‘mythical norm’30 although she contends that both center and margin call to be released from their oppressive relation, though only the marginalized may have enough (will) power to release it.31 The character provides an ‘Alibi’ to explore parts of the self that one would normally hold back as not suiting to the previously assigned narration of self. The idea here is that through conscious action as well as embodied and intuitive reaction in play this narration expands.

Kemper offers a method of extensive pre-and post-play preparation and reflection in which players identify themes they want to work on and consciously steer for dealing with them in-game. She calls this ‘navigational play’. This process is supported through the collection of ephemera and journaling.

The possibility to transform the way we relate to ourselves, makes Role Play a commonly used technique in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and related practices. Although artists and LARPers are not medical professionals and do not claim to be, in times and places where medical care is not sufficiently available or affordable these self-organized practices can be seen as providing at least some kind of support.

This is addressed directly by Furtherfield’s online LARP ’We were made for this // 2050 Fugitive Planning’ introducing players to ‘the Hologram’, a viral system for peer2peer monitoring and diagnostics based on physical, psychological, and social health. Developed for the Social Solidarity Clinic in Thessaloniki, Greece during the height of the financial crisis it was spread by a group of US artists in reaction to their own underattended public health and projected 30 years into the future in which players envisioned themselves as the most well-supported version of themselves - amongst collapsing human and environmental systems.

NOVA. Future thoughts on surviving together’ is a futurist LARP written by Ana de Almeida and Alicja Rogalska and directed to queer and feminist initiatives. The game sets out with the sharing of problems and strategies that participants experience in their activist work to then move into a speculative realm that is free of patriarchal oppression and the suffocation it presents. Collectively they create organizations as well as the threat and opportunities that they will face during play, decide on a conflict and define previously unknown and unnamed feelings to address them. Through designing costumes, rituals, and a collective celebration as a final event the players are engaged in embodied forms of community building.


Think of a feeling for which you do not have any words (yet). Eplain this feeling to each other. Make up a word for it together.Adapted score from NOVA


Documentation of NOVA 

In regards to DIY therapy Brody Condon’s Role Play Level5 offers a critical stance. It presents an 'experiential essay' on the raise of the self-help industry and the dissemination of psychoanalysis throughout American popularity. It is a simulation of a Werner Erhard self-actualization workshop turned into a participatory game. Contrived as a self-reflective hall of mirrors it lets players shed multiple layers of self—via an artificial layer of self, the character.

Personal overlap with the game content and its residue varied with the player's intentions and style of play. Logbook sessions prompted the players to engage in an ongoing private conversation between themselves and the entity they became at three different levels: Character vs. character (character's self-reflection), player vs. character (your reflections on the character), and eventually player vs. player (your own self-reflection). The magical circle in this LARP is deliberately permeable, the fiction flexible to withstand intrusions and a playing field that lets players sway between different levels of immersion.


"Scan your body for non-verbal signals. Briefly observe them. Activate, then slowly transmute into, one of your located non-verbal expressions. Become your crossed arms, become your organs, become your pain."
― Modified exercise from Gestalt Technique used in Zeigarnik Effect, 2015


The LARP deals with subjectivity transformation processes from a specific period. The early large-group awareness training developed in the 70ies considered the individual responsible for all trauma and its lingering effects. Growing up with a father returning from Vietnam and a mother turning to trafficking and consuming narcotics, Brody stresses their failure to position trauma in relation to the oppressive social structures.


Documentation Level 5

Power relations are constitutive of the subject.32 Subjectivation is the person making, the ‘Character Creation’ so to say, it is the social roles we need to enact daily to survive in society. We are created by the gaze of others. This is not only done to us but also actively performed by us.33 Adding this degree of agency opens a path for subversive acts. 

Once again let us pay a visit to the conflated metaphoric map of the dungeon. The BDSM Dungeon is a place where Role Play and related negotion around consent have been practiced already for a long time and where safety mechanics such as code words, calibration tools, and debriefing now widely used in progressive LARP contexts were developped refined.

The critical difference to the power relations that we experience outside of Role Play is that we do not get to consent to them. In BDSM this relies on intimate self-knowledge, the ability to communicate one's desires, and the trust that they will be respected. Being able to play with power can possibly lift some of the pressure that real power structures weigh on our bodies. It is a reminder of the inherently relational and fluid nature of power. Pain here may actually draw this experience into the body but also allow the ‘self’ to transcend it.

Of course, there are forms of therapy like Psychodrama, Gestalt therapy, or Family Constellation that use Role Play. Gestalt therapy for example lets clients play as a parent, a child, or partner in conflict, inhabiting facets of their subjectivities by adopting others. What binds these approaches is that they are relatively marginalized practices and that they are embodied.

Trauma too is embodied. The past is perpetuated through a continued secretion of stress hormones that keeps the body captive in ‘flight mode’. As a result, the overstimulated subject loses touch with their body as it learns to distrust its signals. Like one eventually will stop listening to a broken alarm. In the western context, trauma is generally approached head first through a (psycho)analytical approach but this is often not sufficient. To activate the brain’s natural neuroplasticity and rewire disturbed functioning, the embodiment of new experiences plays a crucial role.34

Isabel Lewis states in a letter that she addresses at her audience, that healing begins ‘with rehabilitating our human sensorium, bringing into check the power we have given to the idea of objective, all-seeing, all-knowing vision in the modernity project.’

Her work(shop) ‘Erotic Sociability’ intertwines embodiment exercises with the theories of feminist sociologist Roslyn H. Bologh offering the notion of interhuman sociality as an alternative to the dominant 20th century relational modes of competition, conflict, and coercion.’

Bologh unfolds a relationality that is based on a mutual acknowledgment of each other and one’s own desires. It is an attending of one another, that celebrates difference. She sketches an ongoing movement rather than a fixation, a swaying between subject and object, a weighing of self-interest and care, a play with opacity and exposure that demands vulnerability to show that one is affected by the other.35

After the collective discussion of Bologhs theory, Isabel draws us into our bodies. Different guided exercises affect a heightening and tuning of the senses. More radically aware and receptive to both non-human entities and each other, we move on. The last part is a dance. Isabel calls it a striptease. But instead of stripping our clothes, we are guided to turn our attention inward, toward the surface of our own skin, and imagine peeling away layers of social constructs and identity. Since the workshop is online we are divided in break out rooms where we are asked to dance for and with each other and perform the double movement between turning us inside out and while letting the outside in.


The following is meant to be read with another—human or other-than-human, perhaps more-than-human—at a distance of approximately 60 cm.

Find this position in relation to them in space.

Hold them in your peripheral vision, gently.

Attune yourself to their materiality.

What volume of space do they displace?

What compression or expansion of your own body would be required to fill that volume?

Can you sense their weight?

What is the timbre of their vibration?

Can you transpose this into audible tones?

Do you pick up on the smell of them from this distance?

Without touching, is there a discernment that can be made about their temperature in relation to your own?

Mind this.
― Excerpt of Invocation 1, Isabel Lewis, 2021

3


Introducing the notion of the Dividuum36, Gerald Raunig destabilizes the notion of the ‘in-dividual’ as a given. He reveals the idea of the self as an indivisible unit as a cultural and ideological construction37 and losing the prefix points to the divisible nature of things opening up potential passageways that lay between the individual and the communal. He points to the authorship of books themselves and their relation to other books. We are used to thinking of books as written by individuals, but as Raunig points out they are always built on chains of other books that constitute their body of knowledge rendered visible, as direct quotations and reference noted down in the Footnotes. 
The margins emerge here as place a place of trans-temporal exchange and conversation between different readers as seen in medieval scriptures38 but also as a place of resistance in the tradition of black radical thought and  feminist practices of critical pedagogy.39

Another recent work of Isabel is ‘Scalable Skeletal Escalator’ an immersive installation and improvised performance that turns the entire building (in this case Kunsthalle Zürich) into a body - made up of other bodies. The holobiont live work takes cues from biologist Dr. Lynn Margulis’ who has emphasized cooperation and symbiosis as driving forces for evolution next to Darwin’s better known (and funded) view of competition. Dancers organically adapt their performance to the audiences, always responsive and in switching roles. Isabel calls this ‘multi-organismic assemblage’. Another ‘Patchwork’ Body, an Exquisite Corpse.

This game also pieces together a body collectively from body parts that might come from radically different worlds and yet they are connected, through open ends and speculation, enabling their bodies to bleed into each other. It is the writing of a body that defies narrative coherence.40 Desire here is derived from the discrete. If you take anybody seriously, one of the things you learn is not knowing.41


Dokumentation of Scalable Skeletal Escalator, Isabel Lewis, Kunsthalle Zürich, 2021

Abandonning the obsession of categorization and scientific forms of knowledge production also releases the regiment of the visual as frame of reference and language as means of communication. Áron Birtalan creates Role Plays that emphasis on subjective worlds and character-creation like his non-verbal LARP ‘DIM’ that takes place in a darkened and undefined abstract space where participants meet as Forms and Shadows and communicate mainly through their own unique body language, guided through exercises in attention, breathing and movement. Somatic LARPs like ‘Xenosomatics’ by Susan Ploetz build a vocabulary of skills (hyperobservation, ideokinesis, hyperempathy, interfacing) to fundamentally reinvent and extend the way we use and relate to our own and each other's bodies.

Participants playing an early version of DIM, Secret Fiction Lab, 2017

While this forms of engagement may seem too vague or abstract to actually address the concrete and urgent problems that are at stake, these artists argue that it is exactly this ability to think and act outside the reactive feedback loops of critique, which eventually offers a more effective defense. Contemporary criticism meanwhile often helps to sustain the system that it searches to oppose, entranced in a dance of dependency. In his essay ‘THE CRITICAL ESCAPEartist and LARP designer Áron Birtalan insists that Role Play as survival mechanism is not purely fictional as he recalls his upbringing in the Kingdom of Pipecland, a secret world that existed between 1938 and 1978 in rural Hungary and an attempt to create an ideal society as a resistance to and ‘critical escape’ from the facist regime. 

Omsk Social Club who describe themselves as a ‘futuristically political’ (i.e., unrealistic) immersive action group are known for devising a mutated form of LARP called ‘Real Game Play’ as a training camp for other modes of being. 


Task: An audit of what is real

Quickly write down everything you observe about your Self until you are exhausted, it does not have to make sense as this world rarely does.

Then do an audit of what is real, cross out anything that no longer feels relevant.
― Taken from The Wet Altar Omsk Social Club


Their first public large-scale piece was ‘PLAY RAVE’ in 2017 featuring 400 Live identities constructed from looking at and speaking to four different generations of crews, promoters, DJs, producers, dancers, and cult figures in Zurich that had put on illegal raves in the city-the earliest in the 1980s. In an Interview with !Mediengruppe Bitnik they explain that Rave culture has influenced their work possibly even more than Role Play traditions. As a rendering of the body useless for capitalist work, a space of collective euphoria, illusion, and losing of one(s) self to find another.


Cryptorave#9, Omsk Social Club and !Mediengruppe Bitnik. Fotos: Mike Tsolis 2019


Under the cover the waves’ is an improvised re-enactment of dream accounts shared, staged and filmed by a group of participants that are invited into the collaboration of Trakal and Jack Hogan. They refer to Moten's vision of the undercommons as a sub-existent, subversive hive of relational commitments and activities giving rise to myriad experiences of celebration, support, and resistance evident everywhere to a participating (and thus attentive) accomplice.

This dreaming-together speaks to Trakal’s artistic approach, which foregrounds questions of collectivity and equality from a post-socialist perspective. ‘Oneirotopia’ another of his dream-works, is 4-day workshop using collective worlding techniques to imagine dreams as outlooks of an utopic otherly world, which respectively act as counter-influences to dominant cultures of consumerism and rationality. Jack came to the project interested in sociality and dispossession as engagements that crack open the often overly individuated world of the dreamer. They themselves ‘dream’ of using dream-sharing culture to get around our inner censors, accessing an oceanic imaginary. Dream states open up possibilities by shutting off the controlled part of the brain that wants to produce specific outcomes and manage everything, a form of direct action--acting as if we are already free.  


Under the covers, the waves!, 2021, Athens Biennale

Here it may be also relevant to remember Beradt as an influential figure in modern dream-sharing practices, as the local and geo-political battlefield is now more than ever the human mind. After the Nazis' rise to power the Jewish journalist and writer Charlotte Beradt’s began collecting the dreams42 of her fellow germans until she had to flee the country in 1939. The dreams reveal the totalizing force of the regime permeating the subjects' psyche and yet remain a realm of free expression in which the suppressed feelings of fear and guilt can find expression. Beyond that Berardt’s book points to the potential of dream-sharing as a form of alternate narration of a collective experience and memory and therefore possibly also a way to address collective trauma and healing.

The trajectory sketched in this text proposes an inner reframing as a form of resistance or escape. What binds the works I have presented is the artists desire to create spaces that undermine and erode existing structures of mental oppression. Still the aim of crafting speculative, imaginary worlds as laboratories for thoughts, is in most cases motivated by the urgency and desire to prefigure actual transformations taking form or leaving a more permanent imprint. And here the body recalls us to return and tend to its limitations. It has material needs from a material world.

What I wonder if it may be the fleeting nature of these experiments that conditions their freedom, a caving out of ‘Temporary Autonomous Zones’ in the (sub)terrain of the self through fiction.43 Can freedom like trauma  materialize by inscribing itself into our bodies? And how does this become not continue to be a freedom on the cost of others? How do we avoid carving out our own communitarian rabbitholes?

It makes me think of a meme:



The Rave is also a place where bodies conspire. To conspire means to breathe together. This statement was made by Simon Asencio44, who heard it from Eleanor Ivory Weber, who saw it on an Andy Warhol poster. We are made up of other bodies. ‘Conspire’ then also means ‘to let each other breathe.’

1
‘The Transatlantic Zombie: Slavery, Rebellion, and Living Death’, Sarah Juliet Lauro, 2015, explains how the zombie entered US consciousness through the American occupation of Haiti, the site of an eighteenth-century slave rebellion that became a war for independence, thus making the figuration of living death inseparable from its resonances with both slavery and rebellion and marks its rebranding as another form of absorption, cultural conquest and erasure.

2 ‘Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures’, Mark Fisher, 2014.

3 In his talk “The End of the World(s)” (2020) Federico Campagna stresses that there is no world. There is only the activity of ‘making world’, which he describes as aesthetic and axiomatic.

4 ‘Building Dignified Worlds’, Gerta Roelvink, 2016 examines how contemporary collectives are designing alternative economies.

5
In his essay “Emissary’s Guide to Worlding” (2018) Ian Cheng outlines a path for making Worlds that can cross the threshold of imagination into aliveness.

6 ‘An End to "this" World’Denise Ferreira da Silva interviewed by Susanne Leeb and Kerstin Stakemeier, Texte zu Kunst, 2019


7
‘Prophetic Culture Recreation For Adolescents by Federico Campagna’, Federico Campagna, 2021, Bloomsbury Publishing

8 ‘The End of a World and its Pedagogies’, Patricia Reed, 2021, Making & Breaking

9‘The Rani of Sirmur: An Essay in Reading the Archives’, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, 1985 introduces the term Worlding into Postcolonial Studies

10 ‘Metaphors We Live By’, George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, 1980

11
’Dungeoneering, Tom K.Kemp, Schemas of Uncertainty, 2019

12 ‘The Weird and the Eerie’, Mark Fisher, 2016

13 Mouthless-part-i-and-part-ii’ Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė, artsoftheworkingclass.org

14 ‘Sick Woman Theory’, Johanna Hedva, 2016

15dis-order.info, Yael Wicki

16 ‘AIDS and Its Metaphors’ by Susan Sonntag, 1989

17 Draconis Lacrimae: Escape From The Guts of The Dragon
Federico Vladimir Strate Pezdirc & Pablo Esbert Lilienfeld, 2021


18 ‘Identity can often be vital in dealing with a situation of oppression, but it would be a mistake to use it to avoid dealing with complexity. Life cannot be saturated with identity’. The Handbook quotes Judith Butler in conversation with Beatriz Preciado, 2008

19 Deliberatly it also retains their markers such as (fantasy) class and race that are inherited from RPG’s legacy as a war game and it’s abstraction and discrimination of (not-fantasy) bodies to problematize it in-game. Also borrowed from traditional role play  mechanics every character is reduced to 5 abilities that are define action points both by chance (a dice roll) and by their class.This is an adjustment to traditional D&D that also performs stat changes based on race which is addressed by projects like Class Modifier Module for DnD 5e.

20 apass.be/profile/portfolio-federico-vladimir-strate-pezdirc/

21 ‘Polaris’, Francois Menneteau, Philippe Tessier, and Raphael Bombayl, first published in 1997 and ‘Microscope’ by Ben Robbins from 2011

22 Karen Barad, “Transmaterialities: Trans*/ Matter/Realities and Queer Political Imaginings”, 2015

23 ‘Forming attitudes via neural activity supporting affective episodic simulations’, Nature Communications, 2019

24 ‘Identification with fictional characters is associated with greater self–other neural overlap’, Oxford University Press, 2021

25 ‘What should we do with our brains’, Catherine Malabou, 2008 (partially quoting Marx)

26  ‘A Game Designer's Analysis Of QAnon’ Reed Berkowitz, Medium, 2020

27 ‘One Number Is Worth One Word’ Luis Camnitzer, eflux podcast, 2020

28 ‘Wyrding the Self’ Jonaya Kemper, 2018

29 ‘Disidentifications. Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics’, José Esteban Muñoz, 1999

30 a concept Kemper borrows from Audre Lorde’s, ‘Age, Race, Class and Sex’, 2015

31 Here Kemper quotes Freire in ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’, 1968/2014

32 ‘Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison’, Michel Foucault, 1975

33 ‘Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory, Judith Butler, 1988

34 ‘The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma’ , Bessel A. van der Kolk, 2014

35 ‘Love or Greatness: Max Weber and Masculine Thinking--a Feminist Inquiry’, Roslyn Wallach Bologh,1990

36 A category of the human mind: the notion of person; the notion of self’ In his lecture from
1938, Marcel Mauss distinguishes between  notion of self and that of a persona, a fixed role or position within a society, akin to masks that an individual may switch within the course of their lives.

37
‘Dividuum: Machinic Capitalism and Molecular Revolution’, 2016, Gerald Raunig

38 Perceptions of Medieval Manuscripts: The Phenomenal Book’, 2021, Elaine Treharne

39
‘On Footnotes’, Lecture (2021), Legacy Russell; ‘Zeroes and Ones’ (1997), Sadie Plant  

40
‘Giving an Account of Oneself’ Judith Butler, 2005. Butler compliments Foucault’s views on how self-narration is entangled with power relations disputing the pursuit for narrative coherence in favor of vulnerability, precariousness, and relationality.

41   Making Kin: An Interview with Donna Haraway, 2019

42 
‘Provided we can escape from the museums we carry around inside us, provided we can stop selling ourselves tickets to the galleries in our own skulls, we can begin to contemplate an art which re-creates the goal of the sorcerer: changing the structure of reality by the manipulation of living symbols ... Art tells gorgeous lies that come true.’ - ‘T.A.Z.:The Temporary Autonomous Zone’ Hakim Bey, 1991

43 ‘The Third Reich of Dreams’ is a collection of seventy-five dreams, compiled by journalist Charlotte Beradt and smuggled out of Germany during the 1930s in code. Neither scientific study nor psychoanalytic text it is a collective diary, a witness account hauled out of a nation’s subconscious mind.

44To conspire means to breathe together, Simon Asencio, 2019









This is an Invitation to Conspire


Carina Erdmann


The recent wave of Role Play or Game related exhibitions might be closely related to the increased concern for science fiction and other worlds. Furthermore, the Game offers a striking metaphor to describe the rat race of free-market society (GAMER THEORY - McKenzie Wark - 2007), our condition in the global network as an evolutionary game that demands submission to its unifying codes (Escaping the Network - Anna Longo - 2020) or even to the art world itself as a (rigged) game. (Talk: Hito Steyerl's Why Games? Can an Art Professional Think? - 2016 - GAMESCENES). But beyond being a thematic trend, I want to explore Role Play as a process based format that centers agency of its participants.1

Role Play's connection to the digital realm is apparent and there would be a lot to say about artists' critical engagement with and within digital and hard coded worlds (eg. Doireann O'Malley: Virtual Tendencies) but I will limit this survey to play that takes place in ‘Meatspace’ in which imagination alone can be found to generate the most expansive virtual reality.

In his essay Dungeoneering - 2019 - Schemas of Uncertainty, the artist and RPG designer Tom Kemp sketches the origins of Life Action Role Play (LARP) as an embodied version of TableTop Role Playing Games (TTRPG) most famous of which Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) emerged as fantastical and therefore ‘harmless’ version of its predecessor the war game (Kriegspiel), a training ground for lethal strategy. The text also explores RPG games in relation to medievalism; the conceptual architecture of the dungeon and its influence on early developments of computer programming.

Throughout history various practices may be seen as antecedents to the LARPing tradition ranging from participatory performances such as the Theater of the Oppressed back to the improvised plays of the Elizabethan pageantry and commedia dell’arte. Arguably even before that, various ritual and religious practices that involve the embodiment or channeling of spirits or the dead may be seen in a similar vein. Much in the nature of LARP itself, the practice continues to have blurry boundaries with adjacent practices such as contemporary improv theater and historical reenactment and effecting crossovers into fields of speculative design, debate, conflict resolution, cognitive therapy, and also BDSM.


Minding the extractivist tendencies within the arts to absorb and monetize on other subcultures and  discourses, it feels reasonable to make mention of the different Role Play formats and communities that have emerged since the 80ies within different contexts. Here Elvia Wilk has produced insightful writings on the emergence of progressive LARPing such as the Nordic scene which I would see as an important influence on the recent adoption of Role Play not as mere content but as an artistic medium and critical tool. (More Than A Game - 2017 - Frieze) Artists like Omsk Social Club or Susan Ploetz rely strongly on safety and meta-techniques developed by these communities. Here is another text by Elvia Wilk that focuses on the consent mechanics within LARP (Ask Before You Bite - e-flux [video]) Likewise there is some interest from the side of LARPing communities in the documentation techniques of the arts. (Documenting Larp as an Art of Experience / Larp Documentation in a Fine Art Context) These spillovers are incidental and at large the distance between respective fields is maintained. Still one can find many parallels in theoretical, critical, and aesthetic concerns. (eg. International Journal of Role-Playing or Knutepunkt Archives


While the improvisational ‘theater games’ developed by Viola Spolin in the 50ies have shaped my relation to performance already from an early age, my first encounter with LARP as an artistic medium was at the Research Center for Proxy Politics (RCPP), a program of lectures, workshops, and talks that ran from 2014 to 2017 in Hito Steyerl’s lens-based class in which LARP was employed to gain insights into the mechanics of a blockchain’s incentives system, the art market or elect a future plan for a plastic island in the arctic.


It was here that I was introduced to the potential of the medium to approach complex sociopolitical themes in an engaging way, literally. As a form of interactive and immersive fiction LARP offers players embodied experiences in temporary realities. While the setting and conditions may be predefined, the narrative is improvised collectively and emerges through play. This aptness to testing social dynamics and systems make LARP a real-life laboratory for thought experiments and employable both as a research tool as delineated in the book Borrowing Positions: Role-Playing Design & Architecture - Trojan Horse.


Within the invisible boundary of the ‘Magic Circle’, that divides the game from the ‘real world’, players can experiment with different behaviors and conflicting viewpoints in a safe space. This is also the reason why NGOs like CRISP develop simulation games with role-play elements for conflict management purposes.


The DAOWO Sessions: Artworld Prototypes curated by Ruth Catlow, Penny Rafferty and Ben Vickers utilize LARP to reimagine the future of arts with blockchain. Be it the speculative musings on the extinction of blockchain technology like the long duration LARP Economic Orangery 2021 that explores the circulation of value in the Belarusian cultural sphere and the inner logic of collectivity; or the mad dreams of crypto billionaires that are tasked to configure a speculative society upon the Seasteading frontier as in What Will It Be Like When We Buy An Island (on the blockchain)? - speculative fiction appears to lend itself to the critique of speculative finance that returns from its short trips into the future with bulging bags hijacking the revenues from potential future sales in precocious accumulation.



For a while now the arts and critical discourse has been struggling with the creeping realization that the task of innovation and even the vocabulary of revolution has been taken from them by forms of capitalist and technological acceleration. Like a grotesque act of exorcism, strategies of hyper affirmation visualize the future like a burning glass on present conditions. The first World Assembly of Goldman $nax entitled “All is fair in dreams and finance” invited the audience to embody the mutation of the undead corpse of late capitalism in a night of financial terr0r. And yet the mad fictions are based on a reality that has become arguably stranger than fiction.



Accordingly the Vampire LARP Parliament of Shadows was held in the actual European Parliament in Brussels and revolved around an actual piece of EU legislation called ETIAS, The European Travel Information and Authorisation System. It featured real MEPs that listened to role playing lobbyists that folded High level EU politics into the fictional universe of the World of Darkness.



But beyond Role switching and Power play the real power of these scenarios lies in the play itself. Skillful game design confronts players with paradoxes and ambiguities, forcing them to make difficult decisions and involves them in negotiations that challenges them to take on and defend positions different from their own.



More than often simplistic ideals get broken down in play as group dynamics begin to take a life of their own and reveal the chaotic and less idealistic but ultimately very real side of human nature. And in this rather educative than aspirational manner the unequal distribution of resources that was supposed to be redistributed through the Hackathon The Communes hosted by Black Swan at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, remained after 32 hours of play still unequal. As a member of the CULT that was the initially best equipped of the 4 communes, modeled around different modes of exchange and organizational structure, it was confronting to observe how easily my personal convictions were overridden by the neoliberal logic of my prescribed character. A dynamic that was complexified or possibly fueled by the fact that the resources to be distributed in play were in fact actual institutional infrastructural resources and the players actual cultural practitioners.



But also when no real life resources are at play, it is striking that when put to test players often fall into old patterns and even reproduce the stereotypes they might try to escape. This does not imply that Role Play as a medium is ineffective. In fact it is a learning process for players and designers alike. This is also why the debrief session that happens after play is by many LARP designers seen as the most important part of the Player’s Journey.


Against the current crisis of imagination, also diagnosed as ‘depressive ontology’ (The impossibility to envision a future that is different than the past), practices of Collective Worlding may open ourselves to other forms of knowing, reconnect us to our sensual and social bodies and reform epistemic foundations for new forms of cohabitation.


There are many conceptions of what the activity of worlding entails. It encompasses anything from the invention of fantastic cosmologies, utopias or futures you can believe in to the formation of new reality systems and the active construction of viable systemic alternatives. 


While these activities are of fundamentally different nature I will benefit from their descriptive likeness to speak of them sometimes interchangeably so that the fictional may slip into reality in passing and vice versa. Most importantly I view Worlding as a metaphysical and collective activity that acknowledges difference and considers consequences of softening boundaries between epistemology and ontology.


In this regard a world is a specific frame of reference that defines how we perceive and relate to base reality. Ian Cheng l in his 2018 publication, Emissaries Guide to Worlding frames worlds as artificial and yet living entities that require care. They need us to believe in them to protect us from the overwhelming complexity of raw sensual data.


These conditions that sustain a world, also naturalize its construction, perpetuating a law-like structure that demands submission of its inhabitants. And while it may trick us by weaving the fabric around us with invisible thread, this tight knit cocoon must unravel eventually as all worlds come to an end. because they can no longer absorb internal paradoxes and frictions: Either because the ‘model’ becomes outdated (new knowledge is produced) or because the conditions it produces are rejected as inhospitable.


Let us follow Denise Ferreira da Silva and Federico Campagna in the assumption that ‘Western Modernity’ faces a similar fate. Dissolving the illusion of a ‘common world’, that appears already co-opted by satisfying hegemonic claims for (its) order, let us take the underlying theory of multiple worlds as a point of departure for exercises in Collective Worlding after the End of ‘the World’.


As a training ground for imaginative flexibility, I want to explore how Role Play can foster simultaneous stories and colliding worlds through the creation and negotiation of a shared gamespace. To revise a world means to look at it repeatedly in a new light. Worlding is also the unmaking of the world: it requires us to rethink our relation to the environment and our own role within it. This is where worlding in its metaphysical sense of the word comes in handy. Instead of trying to fix a broken system we can change a world by reconfiguring its frame of reference.


But how to think of frameworks for an unrealized world?

Here an easy answer seems to be to entirely erase the unwanted elements from the world and literally start from scratch. This explains the frequency of post-apocalyptic scenarios and science fiction narratives that involve the population of supposedly ‘uninhabited’ planets. Those stories are easily subjected to the suspicion of being escapist and simplistic in eradicating the problems instead of dealing with them or even reproducing colonial logic.


The ubiquity of imperial tropes within Role Playing Cultures can be related back to their origins as a war technology, but this would downplay the existing racist and sexist tendencies within the game space. A reason for the artists to be present. Rather than preaching to the choir in self applauding circles of critical theory, their role in dealing with this legacy as well as the danger of reproducing colonial logic of games is required and welcome here. Tabletop gaming's most prestigious trophy is in fact the burned last copy of the The Adventures of Indiana Jones Role-Playing Game which results in the fictional character Diana Jones as a name patron for the Award.


A growing scene of Black Voices in the RPG Community discuss, analyze and critique identity and cultural representation in games, and create extensions (Harlem Unbound) or additional game mechanics (Class Modifier Module for DnD 5e) for existing Role Plays that enable a more accurate representation in historic fiction, imagine otherworlds untethered by racial violence (Mother Lands) and apply LARP as a practical tool to decolonize the body and investigate the trauma it holds. (Wyrding the self) Here Role Play becomes a form of “disidentification” from and active recoding of assigned social roles. Such Role Playing of Role Play obviously also lends itself for the probing and deconstructing of assigned and assumed gender roles.


Written by feminists from eleven different countries, #Feminism is a collection of small Table Top Role Plays on contemporary feminist issues. Boys Space designed by THE AGENCY deals with the connections between patriarchal masculinity and right-wing thinking, letting visitors take on the role of “Male Characters'' that meet their “Empathy Partners” and come across the confessions from other users on and offline. In this vein here is a Conversation with Ed Fornieles on his latest project Cel, the crisis of masculinity and the concept of Critical Empathy, a concept that emphasizes the limitations and complications of empathy from reflexive perspectives. It does not only refer to the process of imaging another person’s point of view or emotional state, but also to an awareness of the limitations and complications of empathy.


Works such as Doireann O’Malleys Prototypes-ii or Deep Time Trans by Teo Ala-Ruona employ LARP to explore embodied experiences of a genderless future or non-binary nature of prehistory. In the lecture and conversation on Early Transition as LARPing McKenzie Wark discusses how being a trans woman at times feels like role-playing through the gaze of others, and how forms of metaphorical bleed can avoid literal bleeding. She opens up a conversation with Omsk Social Club around role-play as strategies for subversion and survival; pushing the boundaries of subjectivity and the self through play and raving as a post-political form of expression.


Their first public large-scale piece was “PLAY RAVE” in 2017 featuring 400 Live identities constructed from looking at and speaking to four different generations of crews, promoters, DJs, producers, dancers, and cult figures in Zurich that had put on illegal raves in the city-the earliest in the 1980s. In an Interview with !Mediengruppe Bitnik explains how Rave Culture has informed their practice as a space of collective euphoria, trauma, illusion and immersion to an alternative world where people could be someone else or maybe finally themselves.


We are given a name at birth with the expectation that we will grow into a singular identity that might be labeled as such. Yet, we are inhabited by multiple often conflicting voices that express different forms of assigned or chosen belonging. It is the multitude of those voices that in fact makes up our individuality. The partial silencing of such voices to conform with simplified visions or instrumentalization of identity is a form of internalized violence Role Play offers a way to let these voices speak out.


Coming back to Patricia's question: But how to think of frameworks for an unrealized world?
Instead of starting from scratch or zooming in from a planetary level to the subjectivities that experience the world, Trakals begins the practice of worlding with the subject, and more so with its affects of alienation that separate it from its ontological home world. The split demarcates a place of radical alterity to the world, from which to construct alternative worlds. Magical Materialism: The World Factory is a collective world-building writing workshop, that takes its cues from psychoanalysis and a post-socialist perspective of Andrey Platonov's concept of the „literature factory“


Draconis Lacrimae: Escape From The Guts of The Dragon by Federico Vladimir Strate Pezdirc & Pablo Esbert Lilienfeld is a game that invites players to encounter otherness as an accomplice and welcome the alterity we have in us through fundamental archetypes of fiction. Auto-fiction serves here as a tool to resist predefined categorizations of identity, as a technique of transformation and orientation in a world saturated with categories.


Maybe the temporary realities created within such works of interactive fiction can be seen like the Temporary Autonomous Zones described by the anarchist writer and poet Hakim Bey as strategies of releasing one's own mind from the controlling mechanisms that have been imposed on it.


Examples that engage in such almost ritualistic manifestation may be Furtherfield’s We were made for this // 2050 Fugitive Planning a LARP that introduced players to the Hologram’s viral healthcare system to enact their survival and thriving through multiple emergencies and crises; or NOVA a LARP designed by Ana de Almeida and Alicja Rogalska is a piece of political fiction in which we collectively dream and narrate a world free of patriarchal and other forms of oppression. In his essay THE CRITICAL ESCAPE artist and LARP designer Áron Birtalan insists that Role Play as survival mechanism is not purely fictional as he recalls his upbringing in the Kingdom of Pipecland, a secret world that existed between 1938 and 1978 in rural Hungary and an attempt to create an ideal society as a resistance to and ‘critical escape’ from the fascist regime.


Today Aaron creates Role Plays that emphasis on subjective worlds and character-creation like his non-verbal LARP DIM that takes place in a darkened and undefined abstract space where participants meet as Forms and Shadows and communicate mainly through their own unique body language, guided through exercises in attention, breathing and movement. Somatic LARPs like Xenosomatics by Susan Ploetz build a vocabulary of skills (hyperobservation, ideokinesis, hyperempathy, interfacing) to fundamentally reinvent and extend the way we use and relate to our own and each other's bodies.


Imagining scenarios in an emotionally neutral place can change our attitude to that place in reality. the more immersed people tend to get into 'becoming' a fictional character, the more they use the same part of the brain to think about the character as they do to think about themselves People make their own brains, Imagine if they knew that and they could construct and entertain a relation with their brain as the image of a world to come. Role Play arguably may support the transformation of the brain’s plasticity into mental “freedom.” In a possibly similar fashion the activity of Role Play caters to participants with forms of neurological variation as some of the otherwise limiting constraints of social interaction can be temporarily suspended or re-coded.


In his thesis Play-Between artist and Game designer Francis Patrick Brady explores play as a method for traversing the differences “in between” subjectivities: between the engaged and the estranged, the included and the excluded, the immersive and the discursive, the transparent and the opaque. ‘Bleed’ is a term used in LARP (Live Action Role Play) to describe the gray zone between fiction and reality, where the border between player and character dissolves. The works that interest me are committed to showing the fragility of that boundary and to understanding collective dynamics in the construction of fiction and reality. How can we open ourselves towards different ways of knowing as well as the implied not knowing? Can we perceive and reconstruct an interwovenness between multiple perspectives and modes of being?


To conspire means to breathe together. This statement was made by Simon Asencio, who heard it from Eleanor Ivory Weber, who saw it on an Andy Warhol poster. I think “Conspire” also means “to let each other breathe.”



______



Role Play as strategy is of course not a new phenomenon in the arts the way it is used as a participatory medium however is. Here it might be valuable to make a distinction to other participatory practices. (Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship)

I would say that the initial invitation into the work is generally more inclusive from the start. Often there is a long preparation before and after care. The time of pre-workshop and debrief might well exceed the duration of the actual play. Even though the safety mechanisms may in many ways recall the ritualistic formula of an airplane safety instruction it is a crucial part of the LARP as it marks the lines of the playing field and therefore the emotional boundary that respects and protects the personal psychological space of the participant.


While there are some instances in which LARPs are designed to be played out in front of an audience or recorded through video or other means, hardliners would insist that the defining feature of LARP is its experiential and deeply personal nature making it somewhat impossible to document. Arguably the instances in which LARP is recorded (Level Five - 2010 - Brody Condon), the focus of the work noticeably shifts from experience to representation. If the experience is left to the player, artists tend to find other ways to tie down the ephemeral nature of their works into tangible and potentially collectible artifacts. This can be in the form of artworks produced in-game (The Innocents - Tom K Kemp), video installation and sound pieces that support the game as lore (Sisters of The Wind - jujulove), or as a collection of scores and game scripts similar to the way that improvised performance is annotated (Deep Listening - Pauline Oliveros) Indeed Role Play can join a longstanding conversation on how performative and ephemeral works can possibly be archived in ways that are adequate to the format (Collecting the Ephemeral) Not only the preservation but also the of sharing and experiencing of process-based art within institutional spaces requires new conceptual and practical principles such as the programming of Shedhalle by Thea Reifler and Philipp Bergmann.


One critical element in the facilitation of Role Plays is time. Whereas the existing infrastructures and conventions of the art world and market are geared towards formats that fit into the timeframe of an evening, for another world to unfurl often more hours or days would be desirable. A crucial question that emerges in relation to durational interactive performance and play is that of accessibility. Who can afford to spend a whole day or even multiple away from their daily life and work? This brings me to ambient formats that are more integrated and interwoven with said daily life. Unrealism by Omsk Social Club ran over three different platforms and lasted 56 days. Employing a (changing) core player to live in a designated room that featured little more than a computer screen provided a way for the online players to tune in on their own time to chat with the (dis)embodied avatar Eastyn Agrippa. The Real Game Play explores the idea of life online as Paradise without ecology, the ontology of the avatar and the atomization of identity. Oftentimes LARPs are deliberately held in some space far away from business as usual. In some secluded landscape or architecture that allows the players to fully immerse themselves into the temporary world crafted for and through playtime. To encounter non-players or rather non-believers that will challenge and contradict the voluntary conspiracy a Role Player has devoted oneself to, is oftentimes avoided. But some games in fact choose to center the experience of conflicting perspectives by incorporating the split into the narrative and featuring mechanisms for the players to become liminal beings that walk and communicate between worlds. The immersive Science Fiction ÖRJÄT is set in the future in 2810, when the surface of the earth has become uninhabitable. The 3-day LARP took place on a remote Swedish Archipelago but had to integrate itself with the PLX festival on site, which consisted of a party crowd still raving to the soundtrack of 2018. The players were therefore introduced into the game through the technology of Mind Inducement (MI), basically a guided visualization that turned their bodies into vessels receiving and carrying an intra- & extraterrestrial consciousness that was able to inhabit another temporal zone through their support. While many LARPs deal with the old world through oblivion, memory loss, burnt archives or mysterious fogs, here the host memory was kept intact and could be accessed by the for a trans-temporal exchange.


The temporary cosmologies and characters created from scratch are fragile entities that need us to believe in them. But Role Play also offers a unique chance to activate the space between colliding worlds.




1
Games:Agency as Art’, C. Thi Nguyen, Oxford University Press, 2018

2 tbc...










No More Heros Please


Carina Erdmann



This is an inquiry and reframing of the hero trope through game design and theatre. Both disciplines are deeply invested in relentlessly retelling the transformative journey of the hero moving through the three main steps of Separation, Initiation, and Return. The spiritual journey of the individual that is overcoming the inner and external struggles that society poses is as old as the disciplines themselves. And although the hero has been proclaimed dead many times, the trope seems invincible. We question what the hero can still do for us today and what in turn the narration through his singular perspective does to us. Living in a globalized world of today facing geopolitical and natural catastrophes that are deeply interlinked within a complex web of relations, what is the singular role model returning from a self-discovery trip still able to teach us?  Should we still ‘Hold Out for a Hero’ like Bonnie Tyler famously exclaims in her song from 1984 longing for a man fresh from the fight, racing on the thunder and rising with the heat?


Or should we maybe join in with Tina Turner when she sings just one year later:


Out of the ruins

Out from the wreckage

Can't make the same mistake this time

We are the children

The last generation (the last generation)

We are the ones they left behind

And I wonder when we

Are ever gonna change, change

Living under the fear

'Til nothing else remains

We don't need another hero



The songs of the two women express precisely the split we want to explore. Which desires do we project into figures ‘larger than life’ to borrow Tyler's words once more? Whom do they serve? Can the long-dead heroes be resurrected and recast in a contemporary framing that allows for more diverse identities to assume their roles? Does the spotlighting of the hero offer the necessary attention to marginalized groups? Or is it in fact the hero archetype itself that is holding us captive in narratives that praise the individual and disavow the community? Contemporary politics give vivid proof that if we call out for a strongman to hand over our own civic responsibilities, he will gladly appear. He will demand sacrifice for the greater good and will produce more heroes that can fight and possibly die for the nationalist fantasies he recalls or deliver pizza for the minimum wage to keep the extractive machine of capitalism well oiled and nourished. ‘To make America great again’ and to ‘Always delivering an amazing experience’ as the slogan of the company ‘Delivery Hero’ promises to its clients and demands from its workers.


As the hero can be used to motivate individuals to sacrifice themselves in return for honorary mention it is no big surprise that it is abused to exploit those that lack recognition in society otherwise. This also explains why the health and ‘essential workers’ were praised as heroes for a short time after the outbreak of the pandemic for being out there and exposing themselves on the front lines. Still, the loud pledges to turn their one-time hero pay into a long-term raise was silently revoked in some case giving the explanation that care workers should be doing their job out of ‘care for people rather than ‘need for money. Real heroes are apparently not paid.


And indeed there are billions of gamers each year who pour countless hours of their free time into playing the hero on screen. For free as well. In video games such as: ‘Quest for Glory: So You Want to Be a Hero’ from 1989 one of the main incentives set in play is to rise above others. Overcoming ever bigger bosses the player can gain a sensation of personal growth and heroic strength. Suitingly they are often reincarnations and mash-ups of figures from mythology or the lone survivor roaming through a post-apocalyptic aftermath, the mythology of our time. The hero's journey sketched out by Joseph Campell is a perfect mold for those stories. Even as open-world or multiple-choice narrative they follow the same trodden path from the perspective of a single individual who goes on an adventure, is victorious in a decisive crisis, and comes home changed or transformed.


With the alternative title, ‘Monomyth’ Campbell wants to sign towards the universality of this template. It is indeed produced through a structural analysis within the field of comparative literature and its potency in mapping a path of individual transformation becomes evident when tracing a similar structure in the Jungian process of individuation, the stages of the shamanic Initiation as well as the schizophrenic renewal of the self, that are deeply spiritual and psychological processes. One connecting element of ancient and contemporary mythologies is their pedagogical purpose and transformative potential. Drawing from psychoanalysis we are particularly interested in how these techniques draw relations from the personal to a collective subconscious.



Structural analysis of narration is becoming especially relevant in increasingly coded environments where algorithms are trained to produce new narratives based on unified principles but also for human scriptwriters and storytellers these formulas doubtlessly function as valuable support in reproducing new tales after an old recipe. Precisely because the formulas have been proven to work, it is important to not fall into its mindless perpetuation for the sake of comfort. This project turns to narrative conventions and archetypes to question and subvert them - updating the stories and applying them to today's contexts is only one part of that endeavor. The other will be to observe and experiment with the underlying motives implicit in the structure itself. Moreover, we want to shift the perspective from the individual to the collective. In LARP and multiplayer games, there are no single heroes because every player requires a fulfilled game trajectory. We are interested especially in narrative formats enabled through nonlinear and collective storytelling and take inspiration from narrative structures that are built around multiple characters eg. in the Scandinavian or Indian narrative traditions or more relational forms such as in West-African narratives. Researching the different narrative models and characters in the local traditions of our partner institutions, special emphasis is given to exploring variations and common ground within different local mythologies and facilitating an ensemble of characters that celebrates difference. It is a signal against the universalist approach of imperialist logic of globalization as well as the resurrection of nationalist traditions and ideals.







early 15c., "to come together, meet in the same place," usually for some public purpose, from Old French convenir "to come together; to suit, agree," from Latin convenire "to assemble; unite", from assimilated form of com- "with, together" + venire "to come" 


2022




Footnotes:
Annotating the Future of Arts Education was a workshop, conference, and role-playing game that unfurled in a speculative scenario set in 2045. Participants assumed a character to design and research future realities for arts education. It took place from at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) and was organized by School of Commons and 0ct0p0s


2021




Blend&Bleed - Online Symposium on Transreality & Pervasive Play The series of online workshops conjures synergies between the fields of performance, larp, game design and media theory. The common inquiry will be the phenomenon of 'bleed', wherein the boundaries between fiction and reality, the virtual and physical world dissolve.  


2020




  • c0nspire 

late 14c., "aspire or plan, agree together to commit a criminal act," from Old French conspirer (14c.), from Latin conspirare "to agree, unite, plot," literally "to breathe together," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + spirare "to breathe"



This is a list of practicioners working on the intersections of performance and play. It will always be far from complete. If you would like to add an entry write to contact@0ct0p0s.net


0

0ct0p0s, Research platform for performance and pervasive play & Development of (Remote) Role Plays, Worlding Workshops and Sonic Fictions.


A

Argn.com, Alternate Reality Gaming Network

Aron Birtalan, artist working with games, mysticism,
intimacy and the politics of imagination.

Axel Stockburger, artist and theorist who designs games and researches on gaming.

B

Brody Condon, artist creating game-like group encounters.

Black Swan is a collective testing horizontal and decentralized approaches to the traditional art world templates through Role Play, exploring digital tools that facilitate peer support, artist-led funding, and horizontal decision making.

C

Carina Erdmann, artist, researcher working with remote role play, and collective worlding.

Claire Tolan, artist and programmer and designer of Die Siedler von ShÜSh, a fantasy tabletop role-playing game rooted in the sounds of ASMR

CRISP, organisation that designs simulation games on political and social conflicts, in which the participants can test alternative problem-solving approaches in a safe zone.

E

Elio J. Carranza, artist working between formats of moving images, games and installation. They are passionate about critical pedagogy, conflict resolution and autonomous healthcare and sickness.

Eva Wei, larpwright, IP-lawyer and lecturer dealing with Intersectionality and nerdism, discriminatory structures, and political activism.

F

FedericoVladimir Strate Pezdirc &Pablo Esbert Lilienfeld, artist duo that createRole Playing Games from the perspective ofperformance.

Francis Patrick Brady, artist, curator and pedagogue, who creates artistic games that question the accepted realities of social and cultural norms, building scenarios that establish crossovers between fantasy and fiction.

G

GAMESCENE, website dedicated to Game Art started with the bookproject Art in the Age of Videogames written and edited by Matteo Bittanti.

The Geek Initiative specializes in the production of Digital LARPs.


J

jujul0v3, world builder, ecofeminist, witch, an oracle... Inspired by feminist science fiction, manga, pop culture & fantasy

Jonaya Kemper, activist, artist, educator, designer, writer, and games scholar who looks at play as a means of liberation for people of marginalized identities.

L

LAOG (Live Action Online Game) Live Action Role Plays using video call technology and meta-techniques. Manifesto by Gerrit Reininghaus

Leak Ventures a (positive) trolling collective creating Real Game Plays on art and speculation as form of critique. eg. Goldman $nax, a night of financial t€rr0r.


M

Maria Cynkier curator working in the fields of art, ecology and digital culture, using LARPs as discursive method.

Mario Mu, artist working on various research projects which are often constructed as extended gaming platforms.

Me gustas pixelad [I Like You Pixelated], a festival where the performing arts meet the world of computer screens, the internet, and video games; curated by Matías Daporta.

Mirror World Creations, Live Action Role Play studio that creates Phone LARPS.

Moving Castles are modular and portable multiplayer miniverses; inhabited by communities that use them to manage their lore, ecosystems and economies.

Mycological twist,project by Eloïse Bonneviot and Anne de Boer operating both as a fixed mushroom garden and as a nomadic project, infecting and spreading mycelium alike.

N

Nick Koppenhagen, artist interested in the visual properties of abstract systems, working on a (non-)playable card game based on a force-directed graph, a memory dune and the traces of interactions.

Nina Essendrop, LARP designer with a focus on movement, sensory experiences and the meaning of physical action.

Nordiclarp.org, online magazine about Nordic style larp. The website is a non-profit community project managed by a team of volunteers who are part of the international larp community.

O

Omsk Social Club, collective using Real Game Play in LARP situations to induce states in which the fictional world bleeds into the real, offering new shared and virtual spaces with a taste of activism.

P

Philip Tomei, experience designer and cognitive scientist using LARP, neuroscience and immersive theatre to create transformative experiences.


R

Research Center for Proxy Politics, the lens based class of Hito Steyerl, in which LARP is used to test run science fiction scenarios reflecting critically on the present.

Ruth Catlow, artist, curator and researcher on emancipatory network cultures, practices and poetics frequently using Role Plays eg. to reflect personal and collective data practices. She is artistic director of Furtherfield.

S

Sarah Lynne Bowman,
scholar, professor and game designer writing frequently on the practice of role-playing games.

Steph Holl-Trieu, 
artist and researcher interested in imbrications and slippages between media theory, symbiotic ecology and historical materialism.

Susan Ploetz
, artist who deals with bodymind-technology interactions, imagination as interface and emancipatory emotional dissonance in her LARP designs.

T

Tom K Kemp uses RPG design, improvised filmmaking and animation to parse the eerie consequences of global bureaucratic and economic systems on intimate and immediate human relations.

Trojanhorse, autonomous educational platform that organizes summer schools, live action role-plays, workshops and reading circles in the landscapes of architecture, design and art.


ÖRJÄT (2018) a 3-day interactive narration, taking place on an uninhabited island in Sweden, designed to prompt reflection on the meaning of free will facing the urgency of environmental change.



0ct0p0s



0ct0p0s is an organization providing a platform for sharing collective and embodied research methods that enable the emergence of other ontologies and social imaginaries through play and performance.

PRACTICE:

SCULPTING SONIC WORLDS Workshop experimenting with collective worldbuilding methodologies through the medium of sound.

ABYSM
Extended Reality Game in which Remote Players are embodied by Real Live Avatars who move in a physical gamespace via video livestream and an adaptive soundscape and game score.

WHERE THE UNBORN CONSPIRE
Workshop approaching world-making through voice, breath, relational dynamics, and role-play techniques. It forms a metaphysical narration of becoming a choir.

DISTANT BODIES & ACCOMPLICES  
Research Project investigating embodied inter-action and inter-subjective exchange between player and avatar through Remote Role Play.

BURIED ACCOMPLICES
Online LARP set in the future vision of E.M. Forster’s 1909 novella ‘The Machine Stops’ lets players re-construct a speculative past through archival video fragments and the method of loci.




COMMISSIONS

Footnotes: Annotating the Future of Arts Education
was a workshop, conference and role-playing game that took place from 29 August to 1 September 2022 on the campus of the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). It wasorganised by School of Commons and 0ct0p0s that allowed participants to develop and research critical designs of future realities for arts education within a fictional setting of 2045.

Where the Unborn Conspire: Worlding workshop for more than one voice


Everything not saved will be lost
— Nintendo

Which songs are sung after the end of a world? The workshop approaches worlding through voice, breath, relational dynamics, and role-play techniques. It is a game played by the living, summoning the voices of those who will come after them, through the resonance of their flesh. You recognize me by my voice. I learned to love listening to you. The characters dwell in what is left of the institution - A building shell to occupy. Participants can play a character from the computer at home or become their body moving through the Theater Hora at Shedhalle Zürich where the physical practice takes place. Either way, they act as Accomplices as they construct the metaphysics of another world. An apocalypse is also a beginning.


Where the Unborn Conspire, Invite,  2021, Grafic Design: Marijn Degenaar

Letters to the Unborn (produced during play):



Reflections during the debrief session:

‘It made me think about the idea of intersubjectivity. You are one character. A me & you relation is held within the character. Mutual acceptance produces the subject. The me is the me & you feeling sth. together. A good way of working through who that me is together.’ — Pule


‘The experience allowed us to think through really crucial concerns: How do we keep our minds open to the potential of change? What would that mean for us as people?’ — Chantelle


Dates:
18.09.2021: School of Commons, Shedhalle Protozone 4 Hi-intensity 2, Zürich






Mark

ABYSM Accomplices


ABYSM, Player: Sayuri Chetti & Nick Koppenhagen, UI Design by Marijn Degenaar, Font:Icarus by Sophia Brinkgerd


ABYSM is an online game that uses the theatre as its map. Players can take on the role of a character or ‘take control’ from home as a player on the game’s website and a camera mounted on chest harness, transmitting the first person perspective of the avatar.


ABYSM, Player: Dawid Grzesinski & Nikolas Brummer, UI Design by Marijn Degenaar, Font:Icarus by Sophia Brinkgerd

The movements and choices made within the game shape the performance scripts and soundscapes that serve as a guide for characters and players alike. Together they set out on a journey from personal to collective memory and trauma. The story is non-linear and subverts narrative conventions and archetypes - following the Fool’s rather than the Heros Journey. It takes place in a Multiplayer Game played in a state of connected Hypnagogia, the state between wakefulness and sleep. Multiple QUESTS lead through three REALMS: The Node, The Edge, The Field, which correspond to division of Theatre Space: Backstage, Stage, Auditorium.

THE FIELD, Player: Sayuri Chetti and Maciec Sado, UI Design by Marijn Degenaar

The Hybrid game combines methodologies from Role Play and Computer Game Design, Therapy and Performance Improvisation to craft a personal and transformative experience for the players. A crucial part of the game is also the debrief discussion in which players give each other feedback but also deal with emotional challenges that may arisise during play. What happens when your avatar is another person with their own set of motivations? What resistance and implicit violence is felt when you are being played?

Direction: Carina Erdmann
Programming & UI Design: Marijn Degenaar
Music: Lendl Barcelos
Narrative Design: Steph Holl-Trieu
Technical Advice: Nick Koppenhagen


Supported by
 

Mark

DISTANT BODIES & ACCOMPLICES


ABYSM, Player: Sayuri Chetti, UI Design by Marijn Degenaar


This practice-based research aims to explore how forms of live performance can be used to extend and augment online gaming. Designing structures that enable meaningful interactions between player and avatar, it will entail the production of a series of game prototypes in which the player is controlling willful avatars (i.e. real persons engaging in a live-action role-playing game), embodied in the real world through a digital interface.

 Game play and navigation, photoshop sketch (2019)

Remote Role Play, are hybrids of analog and digital performance. They let us investigate how presence, irreversibility and feedback of a real person can result in another level of responsibility sensed by the player.

Joining the discourse around emerging forms of digital storytelling, mixed reality and immersive theater we wish to engage in a conversation on how the narrative tools common in game design (eg. Point-Of-View) and in performance (eg. presence of performer) can affect, inform and extend one another, thereby promoting a transdisciplinary approach. It will build upon previous research of enabling structures for collaborative narration and worldbuilding in film and performance, and extend it into the digital realm. Turning the screen into a portal, we hope to connect physically and mentally distant worlds; not in search for the universal, but to perform a simultaneity of perspectives.


Avatars with headsets and Body worn Cameras (BWC), photoshop sketch of gameplay (2020)

WORKSHOPS:


PORTALS - Play with distance
Lecture and Workshop on Remote Role Play.
How can the surrounding environment be incorporated in worldbuilding? What are rules that enable meaningful dialogue?
How to integrate movement into screen interactions?
How can distant places share one physical game space?

Where the unborn conspire
Worlding workshop for more than one voice* with School of Commons at Shedhalle Protozone 4 + online.
*After the book ‘For More than One Voice. Toward a Philosophy of Vocal Expression’ by Adriana Cavarero, 2005.

GAME PROTOTYPES:


ABYSM Accomplices
Hybrid game that combines methodologies from Role Play and Computer Game Design, Therapy and Performance Improvisation set in a state of connected Hypnagogia.

Buried Accomplices
Online LARP that lets you reflect on your present through the lens of historic imaginaries of the future as well as speculative future visions onto the past.


Research: Carina Erdmann
Supervision: Steven Malliet, Rosanne van Klaveren,
Pablo Esbert Lilienfeld & FedericoVladimir Strate Pezdirc,
Rebecca Rouse, Axel Stockburger

The PhD project is conducted in the framework of the Inter-Actions department at LUCA School of Arts C-Mine in the Research Cluster “Meaningful Play” and the School of Commons at the Zurich University of the Arts. It is supported with a scholarship for PhD’s in the Arts at LUCA School of Arts / KU Leuven and a grant by IMPACT Festival,  IMAPCT Théâtre de Liège.


Mark

Buried Accomplices- Online LARP

by Carina Erdmann & Nick Koppenhagen



The future is there ... looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become. And from where they are, the past behind us will look nothing at all like the past we imagine behind us now. ... I only know that the one constant in history is change: The past changes. — Pattern Recognition, William Gibson, 2003, page 59.

An Online LARP that lets you reflect on your present through the lens of historic imaginaries of the future as well as speculative future visions onto the past. The game is set in the world of E.M. Forster’s 1909 novella The Machine Stops in which humans have abandoned the surface of the Earth and live buried underground fully reliant on and connected in telepresence through a global machine.


Leave behind the information overload of our time to deep dive into the dark age governed by corporate control and imposed amnesia. Suspended in scarcity, scavenge fragments and scan the archival footage that has survived to reconstruct your version of history. Let your mind become engaged in the search for meaning and the constant risk of apophenia.

Which past future or future past will you choose to revive? 



Computer memory degrades fast. The thirst for continuous energy flows doesn’t forgive interruption. All we know of your culture is what you have left us in the CRYPT, an archive of video files transcribed as binary code in stone, saved below ground from the crumbling world.

You can now store one video fragment with CRYPT. What do you want to communicate across the threshold of oblivion? How do you want your time to be remembered? You don’t have to be honest. Sometimes lying is an act of kindness.


Image: Polish Center of Mediterranean Archaeology Archives, Fonts by Floriane Rousselot





This journey is also a process of individuation. Everyone lives and dies alone in Shellworld. But if you have ways to gain Ⓣ (time) you won't need to feel lonely.

How do you earn your Ⓣ? What is the name of your job or venture?

Individuation also begins with naming.

What is your name?


Dates:
20.02.2022: School of Commons, on discord



Mark

  • c0nsent 

c. 1300, "agree, give assent" from Old French consentir "comply" (12c.) and directly from Latin consentire "agree, literally "feel together," from assimilated form of com "with, together" + sentire "to feel" 

  • 0n Embodiment
  • 0n Somatics
    0n Sound 
    0n Voice




Interactive Sound and Active Listening


Interested in both emergent, as well as ancient technologies 0ct0p0s explores areas of haptic and spacial Sound, Auditory AR, Psychoacoustics, and Improvisational Performance Scores (such as Deep Listening and Vocal Techniques) applied within the context of interactive performances, films, or games. As algorithmic feedback, it would experiment with generative music eg. using sensors, spatial mapping, biofeedback, vocal modeling, cloning & synthesis. In terms of bodily or perceptive extension, it would explore the effects of directional and binaural microphones, bone-conduction headphones, and wearable bass technology but also somatic exercises. To give the active listener agency and meaningful choices it might be interesting to play with different adaptive audio techniques used in computer games (such as horizontal re-sequencing or vertical re-orchestration) in more spatial and immersive contexts. The practical exploration would be situated in the reflection around the role of sound in accessing deeper layers of meaning, memory, and non-verbal communication.


Plasticity & Resonance


The project explores applied forms of Adaptive Audio and Somatic Listening to extend our sensing capacities and critical reflection on the circular relationship between algorithms and our bodies. It will draw from both; the research of neuroscientists such as David Eagleman who use haptic feedback to develop new sensing capacities, as well as the critical views on the brain's plasticity as discussed by Catherine Malabou. On the one hand, the project opens us up to the potential of extending our perception and world-making through sound. On the other, it explores sensual ways to address the problematic feedback between our brain and predictive algorithms generated by cognitive capitalism. The research will also entail experimentation with various choreographic scores, their relations to the notation of music, and how to translate them to social interactions.

READING:

Deep Listening:  A Composer's Sound Practice’ - by Pauline Olivieros


For More than One Voice. Toward a Philosophy of Vocal Expression by Adriana Cavarero, 2005.

AGENTS:

Mauro Hertigcomposer with an output of ensemble, chamber and site-specific works. His focus lies on explorations of interdependence, creating stage environments that distribute agency in game-like settings, often using sounds of intimate speech, touch and instructions.

NSDOS, musician and choreography researcher. Inventing his own his hybrid tools out of old audio converters, Gameboy emulators he unravels the rectilinear anatomy of techno music. Inspired by meteorological stations and according to a principle of «bio feedback», he surveyes the movements of nature, turned into data before translating them into sounds, textures and rhythms.

Steph Holl-Trieu, artist and researcher sculpting Sonic Worlds taking cues from a perpetual interplay of media theory and historical materialism. 

Thomas Deueles, neurologist, musician, and neuroscientist. He has invented a brain-music interface, called the Encephalophone, allowing one to generate music in real time without movement. He has begun clinical trials of the Encaphalophone to restore musical ability to patients who are paralyzed from motor disability.





  • c0nstruct 

1660s, "put together the parts" from Latin constructus, past participle of construere "pile up together, accumulate; build, make" from assimilated form of com "with, together" + struere (from PIE *streu-, extended form of root *stere- "to spread"). Sense of "to devise and form in the mind" is from 1755. 



A central element to both games and performance is that the design of an interactive score. Rule systems, scripts and scores are structures that enable and guide action. Often they aim at finding a minimal form. The barebones that the participant can flesh out. What is the least structure needed to create emergent gameplay and lead participants into an experience in which they can surprise themselves?


This platform aims at making available existing scores and forms of notation that are shared with the creative commons and report on those those that may be accessed upon inquiry or through live experience.


#Algorithms
#Emergent Gameplay





AGENTS:

1000 Scores. Pieces for Here, Now & Later, an online performance space that presents new scores from various artists. Each score is an instructional art piece for one person, commissioned by the project initiated by Helgard Haug, David Helbich & Cornelius Puschke.

Everybodys Toolboxa data base and a library, a toolbox and a game creator, a publication house, a score container, a site for distribution and for long term investigatory discussions.

The Text Score Dataset 1.0, was created by Jennifer Walshe as training material for Machine Learning algorithms, so that new generations of text scores could be created. It comprises over 3,000 text scores, running to almost half a million words, ranging from Fluxus event scores to compositions written in the last year.

The Interactions Group, a transdisciplinary group of scientific and artistic researchers who explore collective thought through playful experiments and develop ‘human algorithms’ like the → The Wonder Machine.

READING:

Software for People: Collected Writings 1963-80’ by Pauline Oliveros 



0n
Collective Thought


"the essence of humankind is purely trans-individual, made up of the bonds that link individuals together in social forms ...the inter-human game which forms our object". (Bourriaud 2002, p. 18)


LINKS:

Collective IntelligenceAgnieszka Kurant 
Edited by Stefanie Hessler and Jenny Jaskey Newly commissioned texts on the phenomenon of collective intelligence and the work of the artist Agnieszka Kurant by Anselm Franke, Caroline A. Jones, Franco (Bifo) Berardi, and others. Distributed for Sternberg Press


Collective Intuition —  The Interactions
is an transdisciplinary ‘thought band’ of roughly 20 artists, scientists and philosophers who together explore the weird and wonderful folds in the dimensions of all possible collective thought through playful experiments that distribute thinking across many people and embrace emergence at the level of the collective mind, to experience what new hybrid forms of thought may be generated by studying and intervening in multi-individual thinking networks, and collective human algorithms. The Interactions is an nomadic autonomous group with affiliations to the Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Amsterdam (where the group began) and Center Leo Apostle, Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Regular contributors include: Orion Maxted, Katarina Petrović, Renske Vroomans, Enrico Sandro Colizzi, Izabelė Jonušaitė, Sára Iványi, Marie Groothof, Cadell Last, Roland Kupers, Carina Erdmann. Keywords: Collective thought, Collective Intuition, Collective computation, Collective organisation, complexity science, cybernetics, interaction, algorithmic theatre, poetry.


Collective Memory — Chen Shaoxiong
A series of photographs that is comprised of pixels of various sizes. ‘I invited residents with collective memories to collaborate on the series. The participants’ fingerprints completed the image, replacing the developing chemicals. It is a collective recollection of a living environment shared in common.


early 15c., "thicken, make more dense or compact", from Old French condenser (14c.) or directly from Latin condensare, from com-, + densare "make thick," from densus "dense, thick, crowded," a word used of crowds, darkness, clouds, etc.

  • 0
  • Oneiric Weaves
  • Memory Palaces &   Collective Trauma



Image: Fragment ofThe Dream of Saint Joseph, Georges de La Tour, 1628 - 1645;  Font:Cruder, Hyunjun Jang, 2018


DreamXchange

Weekly meetings to share and discuss dreams of the past week exploring Dreams as Tales, that might reflect our inner and outer world(s). The group also offers a place to exchange exercises in Lucid dreaming and any research conducted on or within dreams.

Entering each others dreamscapes, archiving and  discussing common tropes as well as comparing its fabric to the records of past generations, we try to listen to dreams as tales. How do they narrate our present and allow access to a collective memory that may haunt it?

dreamXchange follows the vein of previous projects* that have studied dreams to examine a hypothesized collective unconscious.

* Examples (listed below) are Charlotte Beradt’s ’The Third Reich of Dreams’ (1966) a collection of dreams gathered during the 2nd World War in Germany or the amassing of COVID dreams by the London Museum in a project called ‘Guardians of Sleep’. Both projects record the effects of societal upheaval on the unconscious.




Dormant Territory
The workshop is hosted by the research group dreamXchange and extends their weekly dream sharing meetings and oneirotopia methodology to a larger audience. Oneirotopia makes use of nonlinear storytelling, positive conspiracy and the method of loci. In three consecutive parts the workshop will uncover and construct a multitude of superimposed topologies that the participants connect through liminal portals. The workshop builds on our experience of creating LARPs (Live Action Role Plays) and worldbuilding workshops.


Image: It looked like an embrace, Koma Somnus; 2020, Font:Krungthep

Dream Tapestry
A collective sharing session weaving together dreamscapes and real-world landscapes, initiated by Koma Somnus a character that is collectively conceived and nurtured during the dreamXchange sessions. The feature-length walk is an invitation to listen to and share fragments of past dreams while moving through a chosen environment, blending memories with live impressions of the immediate surroundings.

Dates:
29th of April, 2021, on discord, hosted by the Ashley Berlin

Koma Somnus (*19987) is an artist and researcher based in the oneirotopia feed harvested from collective dreamscapes. They are interested in digital game play, video game realism, digital materialism, pseudo-experiments, reciprocal practices between humans, software tools and care work, the co-constitution of memory and trauma, the mutation of written language in programming environments, collective imagination and mythology, the visual properties of abstract systems and collective worldbuild.


 LINKS:


Baratto&Mouravas
Artist duo navigating Archaeodreaming, a multi-disciplinary methodology that merges archaeology with dreamscape-making. Their work recounts narratives integrating history, mythology, material memory, personal dreams, and collective imagination.

COVID Dreams
Millions of people around the world weave the horrors of COVID-19, into their dreams, exposing feelings of fear, loss, isolation and grief in a way that transcends culture, language and national boundaries. Humanity has rarely experienced “collective dreaming” on such a broad scale in recorded history — at least never while also being able to share those nightmares in real time.

Deirdre Barrett, a Havard professor of Psychology researching on the connection of trauma and dreams, has created an online survey to collect the dreams of people living through the coronavirus pandemic.

DREAM WORKS
Three sessions of practice and experimentation with and in dreams: dreaming together, dreaming in the dreams of others, preparing dreams before and after being dreamed. Dreaming of art forms and as an art form. initiated by Galerie founders Simon Asencio and Adriano Wilfert Jensen

Drawing made by Adriano and Simon transformed through Deep Dream Generators, Madrid, 2018

ONEIRIC.SPACE is a research project dedicated to exploring our relationship to dreams and the unconscious through an interdisciplinary lens. It consists of the online magazine, a monthly newsletter, events and special projects.

Dream drawing, 2015

READING:

The Third Reich of Dreams is a collection of seventy-five dreams, compiled by journalist Charlotte Beradt and smuggled out of Germany during the 1930s in code. Neither scientific study nor psychoanalytic text it is a collective diary, a witness account hauled out of a nation’s subconscious mind.


The book, released in Germany in 1966, was structured through chapters of recurring symbols and preoccupations such as “The Non-Hero,” or “Those Who Act”. The dreams reveal the totalizing force of the regime permeating the subjects psyche and yet remain a realm of free expression in which the suppressed feelings of fear and guilt can find expression.

Mark

  • c0nverse 

mid-14c., "to move about, live, dwell; live or behave in a certain way" (senses now obsolete), from Old French and French converser "to talk, open communication between," also "to live, dwell, inhabit, reside" (12c.), and directly from Latin conversari "to live, dwell, live with, keep company with," passive voice of conversare, literally "to turn round with," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + versare, frequentative of vertere "to turn, bend"). Sense of "to communicate (with)" in English is from 1590s; that of "talk informally with another" is from 1610s. 


  • 0n 
  • Non-linear Narration


If we think of the oldest narratives and mythologies transmitted through oral culture, those were the continuous creation of multiple authors. The idea of the author was fabricated only later in order to extract value from such tales. To better understand the mechanisms within collective storytelling we explore existing storytelling engines that enable collaborative and non-linear narration.

LINKS:

Dungeons and Dragons First Pen&Paper Role Play published in 1974  
Storium Online creative writing game
Storyjam Multiplayer Narrative Game For Collective Storytelling developped by Yujie Zhu
Semantic Web refers to W3C's vision of the Web of linked data. It provides a common framework that would enable people to create data stores on the Web, build vocabularies, and write rules for sharing and reusing data.
Patchwork Girl is a work of hypertext fiction by Shelley Jackson. It was written in Storyspace and published by Eastgate Systems in 1995.

Patchwork Girl tells the story through illustrations of parts of a female body that are stitched together through text and image

Mark

late 13c., conceiven, "take (seed) into the womb, become pregnant," from stem of Old French conceveir (Modern French concevoir), from Latin concipere (past participle conceptus) "to take in and hold" (source also of Spanish concebir, Portuguese concebre, Italian concepere), from con- + form of capere "to take" (from PIE root "to grasp"). Meaning "take into the mind, form a correct notion of" is from mid-14c., that of "form as a general notion in the mind" is from late 14c.


  • 0n 
  • Weaving Worlds




A World


A world is composed of a specific frame of reference, it defines how we perceive and relate to base reality and gives meaning to it.

A world needs us to believe in it so it can protect us from overwhelming complexity.

A world follows it’s own logic and dynamic.
Once externalized it takes a life of its own.

“A World is an artificial living thing,
but a living thing nonetheless.”
— Ian Cheng





Worlding


There are different ideas of what the activity of worlding pertains. It ranges from the imagination and fostering of fantastical cosmologies, utopias or futures you can believe in to the construction of new reality systems or the active forging of functional systemic alternatives.

Gameworlds often reinforce stereotypes and perpetuate past and present power structures as well as their claims on Worldmaking. To produce stories which defy the dominant narrative, requires a critical analysis of representation in storyworlds, but also the invitation of diverse authors into their making.




Multiple Worlds

This research begins with attempts at dissolving the illusion of a ‘common world’, that appears already co-opted by satisfying hegemonial claims for (its) order. Surely, colliding worlds are confronting. Their crashing can make a mess in our shelf of convictions as it unravels the seams of our thinking fabric and yet, this is a proposal to embrace complexity, leaving the comfort of one's own skull or self applauding filter bubble.

In Ways of Worldmaking (1978) Nelson Goodman already performs the ontological turn away from a dualist approach of ‘Many worldviews, only one world’. What follows it the radical gesture of multiplying the world. Once we have shattered the illusion of the universal, what are the implications of this such relativism for public and artistic discourse? How can we construct a common place in which multiple worlds intermingel instead of drifting apart in a fight about the centerstage?




Worlds end...


The conditions that make a world, naturalizes its construction. Which makes it seem unchangeable. It perpetuates a law like structure of being complete, or ‘natural’

Still all worlds eventually come to an end…  

As ‘model’ becomes outdated (new knowledge is produced) or because the conditions it produces become unlivable.

Let us assume that ‘Western Modernity’ faces a similar fate. ‘An End to "this" World’ (2019) Denise Ferreira da Silva    



Common World vs. Worlds in Common


The discrepancy between globalized modes of inhabitation and a (theoretical) planetary condition can be captured in the following distinction: the difference between the making of a common world vs. the making of worlds in common. — Patricia Reed

The making of a common world is coincident with ‘the entropic tendency towards the elimination of the diverse’,— Bernard Stiegler 

Dissolving the illusion of a ‘common world’, that appears already co-opted by satisfying hegemonial claims for (its) order and taking the underlying theory of multiple worlds as a point of departure for exercises in ‘Collective Worlding’.


Worlding is also the unmaking of the world: it requires us to rethink our relation to the environment and our own role within it. Instead of trying to fix a broken system we can change a world by reconfiguring its frame of reference.

‘But how to think of frameworks for an unrealized world?’ - ‘The End of a World and its Pedagogies’, Patricia Reed, 2021, Making & Breaking

Relational Worlding


Relational Worlding shifts the focus from existence to coexistence, from questions of where things are to how they hang together. It considers entanglement and interdependence on a micro and macro level. 

Instead of channeling energy and resources into new inventions that fix the world it sets out to changing the world itself, that beeing the ideas and attitudes inside our heads.


Otherworlds 


Against the crisis of imagination, also diagnosed by Mark Fisher as ‘depressive ontology’ (The impossibility to envision a future that is different than the past) Collective Worlding may open ourselves to other forms of knowing, reconnect us to our sensual and social bodies and lay foundations for new forms of cohabitation.

→ For many people perpetual apocalypses have arrived long ago and many of the techniques and tactics of ‘otherworlding’ are owed to their legacy and resistance as survival.

Instead of starting from scratch or zooming in from an scientific abstraction and distance that recalls the map making and of settler colonial forms of ‘Worlding’ Collective Worlding produces flexible, relational, opaque, incoherent (inter)subjectivities and above all include the body with all it’s senses into the narration of the self.

Plasticity


Imagining scenarios in an emotionally neutral place can change our attitude to that place in reality.


The more immersed people tend to get into 'becoming' a fictional character, the more they use the same part of the brain to think about the character as they do to think about themselves.

People make their own brains, Imagine if they knew that and they could construct and entertain a relation with their brain as the image of a world to come.

Ideokinesis, mental images of archetypal forms
from evolutionary past used to improve posture.


Somatic Worlds


Role Play offers a form of double consciousness of being immersed and simultaneously observing one's own action and reactions.

Jonaya Kemper reflects on LARP as a tool to release the body from internalized oppression and bias by taking on roles other than those that society may commonly prescribe to it. Role Play becomes a form of “disidentification” from, and active re-coding of, assigned social roles.

Framing dis-order as a rupture to a given and evidently sickening system corresponds to the artistic and activist strategy that delineates a movement away from reforming the outside world to a resistance that turns to a reframing of the inner.  ‘Sick Woman Theory’, Johanna Hedva, 2016

Trauma too is embodied. To activate the brain’s natural neuroplasticity to rewire disturbed functioning, the embodiment of new experiences plays an important role’The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma’ , Bessel A. van der Kolk, 2014


LINKS:

Around the day in eighty worlds book by Martin Savransky calling for a radical politics of the pluriverse amid the ongoing devastation of the present. Responding to an epoch marked by the history of colonialism and ecological devastation, Savransky sketches a “pluralistic realism”—an understanding of the world as simultaneously one and many, ongoing and unfinished, underway and yet to be made.

EMISSARY'S GUIDE TO WORLDING, book by Ian Cheng presenting practical methods for seeing and making Worlds as a whole-brain activity.

Microscope
collective world building RPG by Lame Mage Productions, that enables players to jump around in time and zoom from the overarching narrative into details of the fractal storyline to pla out scenes and answer questions that the players choose to focus on.

The end of a world and its Pedagogies, article by Patricia Reed on  the difference between the making of a common world vs. the making of worlds in common.

Prophetic Culture, book by Federico Campagna on the end of Westernised Modernity, how to die well and how to leave behind inhabitable ruins to the generations that will world anew.

 




late 14c. (implied in configured) "to form, dispose in a certain form," from Latin configurare "to fashion after a pattern," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see con-) + figurare "to form, shape," from figura "a shape, form, figure"


  • 0n 
  • Play 
  • Simulation 
  • Decentralized Directing


A series of experimental film shoots, aimed to dissolve
the otherwise hierarchic work processes, in which
the director or actor takes the spotlight, to propose
an example for a more equal distribution of light and
decisive power and to develop a language for assessing
its aesthetic outcomes.

In The Garden of Forking Paths (2019) collective
improvisation was guided using formulas like Propp’s
‘Morphology’, an analysis of the basic structural elements
of Russian folk tales, also used in Machine learning.
The tool served well as a framework for the collective
creation but ultimately reinforced narrative stereotypes.

ZOOM (2019) adapted a world building game called
Microscope, because the players jump freely from the
overarching narrative to zoom into details within the
fractal storyline. Similar to the Epic theatre by Bertolt
Brecht, in which spoilers created an alienating effect,
the players start by deciding where the story ends and
where it should begin, to then in taking turns, flesh out
the stories that may have occurred in between.
All participants are co-authors and owners of the film
and can decide where, if and how the film was and will
be presented.



AGENTS:

The Institute for Scene Experiments by Nikhil Vettukattil is a fictional institution devoted to investigating scenes. The workshop aims to reflect on the film crew as a social form, and the generative potential of scenes independent of plot, development and conclusivity.





Mark

  • c0ncretize
"to render (the abstract) concrete," 1826, from concrete (adj.), late 14c., "actual, solid; particular, individual; denoting a substance," from Latin concretus "condensed, hardened, stiff, curdled, congealed, clotted," figuratively "thick; dim," literally "grown together;" past participle of concrescere "to grow together," from assimilated form of com "together" (see con-) + crescere "to grow" (from PIE root *ker- , "to grow").

Commonist Organizations,
Alternative Forums,
Temporal Zones,
& Laboratories 


While a large part of this site is concerned with crafting speculative, imaginary, and thus temporary worlds as laboratories for thoughts, the aim of these endeavors is in most cases motivated by the urgency and desire to prefigure actual transformations taking form beyond the realm of fiction. Therefore this subthread is dedicated to material manifestations. It lists collectives and spaces that have carved out temporal, spatial, or contractual architectures in which alternative modes of cohabitation and collaboration are explored. In these experimental zones, play is employed as a method of maintaining an ongoing open organizational structure. This thread also offers a place for critical reflection around autonomy and access, scale and sustenance, as well as strategies that may grow sharper teeth to the theory. 


Alternative Education

Critical Theory Workshop

is a non-profit educational institution that seeks to bring affordable education with real use-value to a broad public.

Glossary of Common Knowledge (GCK) seeks to find common knowledge to speak about less visible stories in contemporary art and address systems that govern our ways of thinking in art and beyond.
 
Monoskop is an independent web-based educational resource and research platform for arts, culture and humanities. It features wiki pages with multilingual genealogical bibliographies of contemporary topics and movements in art, culture, and society linked to electronic versions of publications or other freely accessible digital libraries.

Overview of alternative art schools, free schools, projects, support networks and vanguards of the alternative education movement initiated as part of a collaborative research project by ART&CRITIQUE


Commonist Organizations


Remix the Commons is a collective acting as a platform working for the commons movement. It enables commoners to carry out research and mediation projects on the commons, and to disseminate and advocate for the recognition of practices of sharing and common self-organisation. Remix enables to preserve the knowledge produced by the commoners as structured information, in particular through semantic web tools, for making visible a grammar of collective action for solidarity.


Decentralized
Autonomous
Organization


Radical Friends. Online DAO Summit for Decentralisation of Power and Resources in the Artworld discusses the value of and presents pathways to peer-produced decentralised digital infrastructures for art, culture and society – in particular through Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs) for the cultural sector. The symposium takes as its inspiration the defining principles of friendship – sustained intimacy, fellowship and camaraderie – which, when applied to complex difficulties (particularly those that might otherwise be invisible to us), offers excellent design patterns for social infrastructure.

Decentralized Autonomous Kunstverein (DAK) is an art association inspired by developments in blockchain technology and the unique tradition of non-profit art associations in Europe. The organization’s mission is to promote experimental approaches to creating and curating contemporary art, exploring the potential of decentralized collective work within the context of contemporary art and technology. To fulfill this purpose, the members of the DAK will collectively work to finance and curate exhibitions, screenings, performances and related programming.


Open Residencies


Bidston Observatory Artistic Research Centre (B.O.A.R.C.) is a not-for-profit study site in Prenton (UK) that focuses on providing individual users and groups with a low cost, temporary place for research and experimentation, which is primarily directed towards cultural and artistic practice, and supporting the development of communities.

Kerminy is a meeting place for artistic, research, theoretical and cultural production residencies, situated in Rosporden (France). Kerminy works autonomous and explores new possibilities for working practices. An agricultural activity at the heart of the place is developed to the commitment of both permanent and temporary residents.

MASSIA is a user-created informal residency space for individuals or groups from any field – who can motorize their own artistic and knowledge production, not only responding to the opportunities given by the institutional market. Initiated and run by artists, theoreticians and practitioners themselves, MASSIA is busy with notions of self-organisation and making alternatives possible.

PAF(PerformingArtsForum) is a place in St Erme (France) for professional and not-yet professional practitioners and activists in the field of performing arts, visual art, literature, music, new media and internet, theory and cultural production, and scientists who seek to research and determine their own conditions of work.



FEDERATED WEB


A collection of networks, tools and devices aiming at decentralisation of the internet:




READING:

Temporary Autonomous Zone is a term coined in 1990 by poet, anarcho-immediatist and Sufi scholar Hakim Bey, as a liberated area “of land, time or imagination” where one can be for something, not just against, and where new ways of being human together can be explored and experimented with.

Commonism (edited by Nico Dockx & Pascal Gielen)
Is a book of ‘commonist’ practice, drawing an image of a political belief system through theoretical analysis, wild artistic speculation, inspiring examples from the arts, near-empirical observations and critical reflection.

Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom (by Bell Hooks) discusses education as a potentially profound and transformative experience that can tax the mind, body, and spirit due to opposition and oppression that is very evidently still in place in our educational systems.

The Tyranny of Structurelessness is an essay by American feminist Jo Freeman that concerns power relations within radical feminist collectives. The essay, inspired by Freeman's experiences in a 1960s women's liberation group, reflected on the feminist movement's experiments in resisting leadership hierarchy and structured division of labor.


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0ct0p0s

Platform for
Pervasive
Play



Pervasive Play is said to permeate the contractual boundaries that seperate games from life. 0ct0p0s investigates the critical use or abuse of game-like structures to sketch the world we live in—now reconfigured as Gamespace.

It provides a platform for practical and theoretical research on and through play, conjuring synergies between the extending fields of performance, politics, philosophy, psychology and pedagogy.

0ct0p0s owes it’s name to an animal with its brain divided throughout its different arms. Every arm senses the surrounding world individually, and yet do they act as one.

As a training ground for imaginative plasticity 0ct0p0s fosters simultaneous stories and colliding worlds through the creation and negotiation of a shared gamespace. Beyond mere mental play it searches for embodied and participatory forms of knowledge production that let us rethink our relation to the environment and our own role within it.