a type of role-playing game in which participants physically act out scenarios, typically using costumes and props.
School Of Reality Design

The freedom allowed to us by the SORD brief was both exciting and daunting, I recall having no clue where to start as a point of interest and research. Luckily, now living in the city of London; everywhere I look there a fresh point of inspiration and something new to see and learn from.

The ideas for the topic of research sprung up when coming back from what was probably a failed study/ inspiration seeking trip, the most confident man walked a few meters ahead of a rushing crowd coming off of the evening train back home. He was no ordinary man, it seemed, and he had a story basing on the tan long coat he was wearing and the chunky high heel on his shoe. The way he wore those shoes and moved with such enigmatic confidence captivated me. Who was this mysterious man? How did he get this poised? Would a man in my home town have the same self-assurance in those very adornments?  Is it a product of his environment? What do people in this environment think about this? Can this thread of research lead me anywhere?

By adopting mixed forms of interview (recording, survey and video) I was able to understand the baseline of this as a form of subculture primed with prejudice and yet still a way to liberate oneself from the mundane.

I thought of several ways of interpreting this into a gaming sequence even one extreme instance  inspired by a text from Kaisa Kangas one of the writer’s on LARP politics where she points out;

“A game that inadvertently ends up having questionable political content or one that contains an oppressive meta-structure (e.g. casting players strictly based on their appearance or only providing servile roles for female players) can still be great as art, and it can have aesthetic value. However, to qualify as political art, a game must have both a political message and artistic merits.”

This was intriguing in a sense that she mentions the potential of exploring the contrast of the political as well as the aesthetic to enhance the quality of a live action game simulation. Since we were designing one, this became an essential lead for my research on appearance and how it affects identity in a singular and social sense.

In the findings of the research, the notion of a controversial game was challenged and I quickly understood that it is a far more effective game if it appealed to the responsiveness of others for those being judged rather than the separation and perhaps further marginalistaion of persons in these subcultures.

The resulting game; a hybrid of a LARP, literary charades and a classical board game termed meta-universe. The first development and an attempt to emphasize and better understand what appears to be so different from the usual through making the participating groups or individuals personify a subculture aided by the tools of our school which are; mobility (movement, situation, spatial perception), sound (denoting senses) and character (social, behavioral nature) which in turn challenges the familiar scenario of the judging observer.


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