Fantasy Direct: A subjective rationale for LARP
Why re-appropriate Life? We re-appropriate Life out of fascination. What lies beyond the standard state of perception?
Commonality based on emotions and experience is something LARP taps into. For example: if you listen to the same track over and over and over for 18 hours straight, like CA Conrad did with Bobby Vinton’s Blue Velvet, you start to notice the hauntology of the active cell, which in this case is the track. CA declared he literally had to pull the socket out of the wall to know the electric was off and the track could no longer be played. He became so attuned to the track, it became the architecture of his perception of space.
Re-appropriating life allows the human mind to be disrupted and brought into a state of the uncanny, enabling it to hack its common nodes of perception and taught identity. The uncanny could be likened to a leech; the blood it feasts on is unconscious excess. We don’t die from the leech sucking our blood, but we do enter another mode of existence, we become a life force for another being. This state is both actively restricting and cohabiting with the leech. We could call this a moment of meta-living with another being - in the case of LARP, your character.
How does LARP create a world? To understand the way simulation informs desire is to trace the way it shapes the landscapes from which we shape our perceptual field of engagement.
How many ways can a space be navigated? What governs the rules of exchange? The conventions of daily life optimize some modes of engagement, cauterize others. Via LARP - inverting the maxim that no -where is no –body - the localization of the self as an entity within culture is hijacked into the performativity of the self within character. The spectacularity of the invented self, performing itself into durational time, is a relationship of uncanny symbiosis with the player’s existing libidinal flows.
Could this be a political resistance? The points, focuses, knots, blockages of the body are always inflamed, but in certain moments in life, they rupture or release in radical serenity.
We are all workers today, because nobody really works in the western world. We play our roles - the guru, the cop, the young girl, the hipster, the teacher etc. - we could say we have bred a new culture for the entertainment of work. It has reached such a level of abstraction over the last decades that we have entered another plane in our socio-economic-lifestyles – one that is equally as uncanny and fantastical as the games we could play for an alternative future.
The greater the parties’ invisibility, the more it opposes. The greater the visibility the more it becomes part of the integrated machine.
Echoing Nicholas Bourriaud - when entire sections of our existence spiral into abstraction, when the basic functions of our daily lives are slowly transformed into products of simulation, LARP seeks to rematerialize these processes, to give shape to what is disappearing before our eyes. Not as objects, but as mediums of experience – by creating a whole new fiction outside the recursive loops of competing simulations, the world is restored to us as an experience to be lived.
Is this a theory? Play is neither theory nor its negation but simply something else. Theory has a simple role: to make itself understood. Fiction does not - but fiction is the apparatus which is needed before theory can play itself out.
YONGMA CHARM holds open space for artists and viewers to run fast, sit still, explore broken and liquified realities, perform future ancestral teamwork, provide psychic decompression and construct provisional systems of immediate mutual support with pooled energies deforming across tight strings of bodily life.