Live-Action Role-Play or the Performance of Realities

Conference paper
Part of the Translational Systems Sciences book series (TSS, volume 9)

Abstract

Live-action role-play (larp) has been named a “new performative art,” an immersive experience, and an educational tool, but it is much more: A playground of intermingling social and cultural realities, a door to new worlds. This paper offers an introduction to larp, its transcultural history, and its disruptive and creative possibilities, as well as key aspects, such as immersion. It sets the theoretical frame for the game “Staying Alive,” in which the researchers and also the audience engage in a shared “mimetic evocation of ‘real-life experience.’” Many aspects of “everydayness” can be called “collateral realities,” realities that are done implicitly, unintentionally, such as nations, cultures, time, or distinctions of subject and object, or of presenter and audience; realities that could be different. Taking performativity seriously, larp can be a tool to step outside of a Euro-American commonsense ontology and its singular reality “out there” by playing with collateral realities and making their production explicit. During a larp, players (“larpers”) consciously undo objects and meanings, space, and even their very bodies to creatively weave new material-semiotic fabrics. They become cultural mediators between a world-that-supposedly-just-is and its partially connected others, in which Japaneseness or Chineseness may fade and Elvishness is translated into a reality. With a global player base, larping is not only a practice of intersubjective or cultural negotiations but also of intra-subjective mediation of cultural realities.

Keywords

Collateral realities Cultural mediation Larp Live-action role-play Performativity 

References

  1. Apter, M. J. (1991). A structural-phenomenology of play. In M. J. Apter & J. H. Kerr (Eds.), Adult play: A reversal theory approach (pp. 13–29). Amsterdam: Swets & Zeitlinger.Google Scholar
  2. Auchter, E., & Kriz, W. C. (2014). The impact of business simulations as a teaching method on entrepreneurial competencies and motivation – a review of 10 years of evaluation research in entrepreneurship education. In W. C. Kriz, T. Eiselen, & W. Manahl (Eds.), The shift from teaching to learning: Individual, collective and organizational learning through gaming simulation (pp. 55–65). Dornbirn: ISAGA.Google Scholar
  3. Böcking, S., Wirth, W., & Risch, C. (2005). Suspension of Disbelief: Historie und Konzeptualisierung für die Kommunikationswissenschaft. In V. Gehrau, H. Bilandzic, & J. Woelke (Eds.), Rezeptionsstrategien und Rezeptionsmodalitäten (pp. 39–57). München: Fischer.Google Scholar
  4. Bøckman, P. (2003). The three way model. Revision of the threefold model. In M. Gade, L. Thorup, & M. Sander (Eds.), As larp grows up – theory and methods in larp (pp. 12–16). Copenhagen: BookPartner.Google Scholar
  5. Bölle, J. (2013). LARP-Statistik Deutschland 2013. Retrieved from http://www.section32.de/fantasy/statistik2013/
  6. Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Christensen, C., & Fatland, E. (2013). A mother’s heart. In E. Nilsen, L. Stark, T. L. Lindahl, & A. M. Stamnestrø (Eds.), Larps from the factory (pp. 25–29). Copenhagen: Rollespilsakademiet.Google Scholar
  8. Denzin, N. K. (2003). Performance ethnography: Critical pedagogy and the politics of culture. Thousand Oaks: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fludernik, M. (1996). Towards a “natural” narratology. London/New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. New York: Anchor.Google Scholar
  11. Hacking, I. (1999). The social construction of what? Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Harding, T. (2007). Immersion revisited: Role-playing as interpretation and narrative. In J. Donnis, L. Thorup, & M. Gade (Eds.), Lifelike (pp. 25–34). Copenhagen: BookPartner.Google Scholar
  13. Hitchens, M., & Drachen, A. (2009). The many faces of role-playing games. International Journal of Role-Playing, 1(1), 3–21.Google Scholar
  14. Holter, M. (2007). Stop saying immersion. In J. Donnis, L. Thorup, & M. Gade (Eds.), Lifelike (pp. 18–22). Copenhagen: BookPartner.Google Scholar
  15. Holter, M., Fatland, E., & Tømte, E. (2009). Introduction. In M. Holter, E. Fatland, & E. Tømte (Eds.), Larp, the universe and everything (pp. 1–8). Haraldvangen: Knutepunkt.Google Scholar
  16. Horowitz, A. (2010). Inside of a dog: What dogs see, smell, and know. New York: Scribner.Google Scholar
  17. Horowitz, A. (2014). On looking: A walker’s guide to the art of observation. New York: Scribner.Google Scholar
  18. Huizinga, J. (1971). Homo Ludens: A study of the play-element in culture. Boston: Beacon.Google Scholar
  19. Kamm, B.-O. (2011). Why Japan does not larp. In T. D. Henriksen, C. Bierlich, K. F. Hansen, & V. Kølle (Eds.), Think larp. Academic writings from KP2011 (pp. 52–69). Koppenhagen: Rollespilsakademiet.Google Scholar
  20. Klabbers, J. H. G. (2009). The magic circle: Principles of gaming & simulation: Third and revised edition. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  21. Koljonen, J. (2007). Eye-witness to the illusion: An essay on the impossibility of 360° role-playing. In J. Donnis, M. Gade, & L. Thorup (Eds.), Lifelike (pp. 175–187). Copenhagen: BookPartner.Google Scholar
  22. Lappi, A.-P. (2007). Playing beyond facts: Immersion as a transformation of everydayness. In J. Donnis, L. Thorup, & M. Gade (Eds.), Lifelike (pp. 75–82). Copenhagen: BookPartner.Google Scholar
  23. Larsson, E. (2003). Postmodernism. In M. Gade, L. Thorup, & M. Sander (Eds.), As larp grows up: The lost chapters – more theory and method in larp (pp. 10–14). Frederiksberg: Projektgruppen KP03.Google Scholar
  24. Law, J. (2009). Collateral realities. In Heterogeneities. Retrieved from http://www.heterogeneities.net/publications/Law2009CollateralRealities.pdf
  25. Lukka, L. (2014). The psychology of immersion. In J. Back (Ed.), The cutting edge of nordic larp (pp. 81–92). Gråsten: Knutpunkt.Google Scholar
  26. Mackay, D. (2001). The fantasy role-playing game: A new performing art. MacFarland: Jefferson.Google Scholar
  27. Montola, M. (2003). Role-playing as interactive construction of subjective diegeses. In M. Gade, L. Thorup, & M. Sander (Eds.), As larp grows up – theory and methods in larp (pp. 82–89). Copenhagen: BookPartner.Google Scholar
  28. Montola, M. (2012). On the edge of the magic circle. Understanding role playing and pervasive games (Doctoral dissertation). University of Tampere.Google Scholar
  29. Montola, M., & Stenros, J. (2008). Introduction. In M. Montola & J. Stenros (Eds.), Playground worlds: Creating and evaluating experiences of role-playing games (pp. 5–10). Helsinki: Ropecon ry.Google Scholar
  30. Moreno, J. L. (1957). The first book on group psychotherapy. New York: Beacon House.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Morton, B. (2007). Larps and their cousins through the ages. In J. Donnis, M. Gade, & L. Thorup (Eds.), Lifelike (pp. 245–259). Copenhagen: BookPartner.Google Scholar
  32. Pettersson, J. (2011). Take responsibility – or: “Don’t hide behind pretentiousness”. In C. Raasted (Ed.), Talk larp – provocative writings from KP2011 (pp. 53–59). Koppenhagen: Rollespilsakademiet.Google Scholar
  33. Pettersson, J. (2014). Larp for change: Creating play for real world impact. In J. Back (Ed.), The cutting edge of nordic larp (pp. 71–80). Gråsten: Knutpunkt.Google Scholar
  34. Raasted, C. (2015). College of wizardry design document. Retrieved from http://www.rollespilsfabrikken.dk/cow/dd/designdocument.pdf
  35. Salen, K., & Zimmerman, E. (2003). Rules of play: Game design fundamentals. Cambridge: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  36. Searle, J. R. (1989). How performatives work. Linguistics and Philosophy, 12(5), 535–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Simkins, D. (2015). The arts of larp: Design, literacy, learning and community in live-action role play. McFarland: Jefferson.Google Scholar
  38. Springenberg, D., & Steinbach, D. (2010). Projekt Prometheus – alternate reality games in civic education. In E. Larsson (Ed.), Playing reality (pp. 109–120). Stockholm: Interacting Arts.Google Scholar
  39. Stenros, J. (2014). What does “Nordic Larp” mean? In J. Back (Ed.), The cutting edge of nordic larp (pp. 147–156). Gråsten: Knutpunkt.Google Scholar
  40. Strathern, M. (2004). Partial connections. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
  41. Vanek, A. (2015). Revelations of the larp census. Talk presented at the Knudepunkt 2015, Ringe, Denmark.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of LettersKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.British Cultural Studies SectionDortmund UniversityDortmundGermany

Personalised recommendations