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A Week In Finland

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Program Sneak Peek

So far Solmukohta 2012 has more than 80 program items, and a couple of more on their way as we get new people from the waiting list in. Larps and freeforms, talks and panels and some parties and joyful competitions (like Duckbowl tournament 2012) are brought to you from wonderful people. Some people are still working their program items to be complete and fully on the program.

Talk: Gender for dummies - or all you need to know to ace the debate

by Emma Wieslander
Discussion is a great thing, especially when people with different opinions can really exchange views and ideas. To do this a language that covers the concept you want to talk about is a handy tool. Gender is a concept that has become much talked about and explored in some Nordic larps over the last decade. As this concept gets more spread gender is something that more larps will have to relate to in some way, whether the larp targets those issues or not. This is the talk that will take you through the basics, from what words might be useful to get your point across to what mistakes you, as a gamer or organizer, can easily avoid to save time and energy. The goal is to introduce and explain in order to make a discussion less focused on what words mean and more about what you want.

Larp: Trahs

by Anders Karls
Did I fail you in that world outside this place
Herein to light I say my last adieu
In sadness I contemplate my fall from grace
Alas – hoping to be born anew

What combines comedy and philosophical depth? What brings everyday objects into the realm of the surreal? That is the small, simple and experimental larp named Trash, from the isolated Fenno-Swedish larp scene!

In the obscurity of an imaginative trash bin, we take on the identity of everything from empty tin cans and rotten banana peels to the fuzz found in pockets. We find ourselves in total despair, being thrown away and forgotten, and ask ourselves ”Why? What did I do wrong?”. But there is hope. Legends tells us about the mystical Recycling, a state where you can leave your old life behind and return as something new.

Trash has three main focus points. First, the spontaneous creation and evolution of a character based on an inanimate object. Second, the existential mysteries concerning life, death and Recycling in an surreal world. Finally, the ultimate control over the fate of your character, guiding it from total despair to a state of spiritual enlightenment.

The road to Recycling is strange and unknown. Only by finding your true self and with the help of your comrades may you discover the answers you seek.

Welcome into the trash bin!

Workshop/panel: Escaton

by Sara Hjalrmarsson
This program is about exploring a LARP idea and concept in a form of a discussion / a workshop. Post-Apocalyptic LARP has tended to gravitate toward the dystopic in Scandinavia, but it could be possible to take it in the opposite direction, toward the creative utopic. Historically, people in extreme situations have demonstrated an incredible ingenuity. That same ingenuity and inventiveness could be just as prevalent in a post-apocalyptic world - perhaps stoves could be built out of empty cans, perhaps bars/cafes could operate without electricity, perhaps an alternative justice system could operate. As a LARP, Escaton would be about developing a solution to one or more of our contemporary challenges (pollution, resource shortages, corruption, crime) by breaking the barriers that constrain our thinking. As for conflict - why not have it between groups and ideologies within a utopian community. That way we can explore some of the barriers present today.

The activity will be a discussion forum/workshop hybrid where the concept will be discussed and ideas generated. There will also be some inspirational items available (most of which are interactive) to help to encourage open-minded and creative thinking around the concept.

Freeform: Prelude

by Lauri Lukka
Prelude is a freeform role-playing game about physical and psychological exhaustion: a band on a long tour is about to have a definitive clash just before they enter stage. The game emphasizes relationships, interpersonal conflict and character immersion. The game mechanics explore unilateral relationships and their affect on the character personality.

The excitement has long since gone. There is absolutely no glamour in the endless backstages lacking all comfort; shitty gigs in the middle of nowhere; having to share everything with a group of retards; longing for my home, my family. When I was new to this I thought there would be fame, money, respect and creativity. We got none of them. This is a menial job at its best.

And what about our fucked up band? On our first record we were authentic, ambitious and fresh. After that we just sold ourselves to the label. The producer composed too much of our record. We played along like puppets. Some in the band no longer give a rat’s ass about our music, others are so fucking cocky because “they are rock stars now”.

What have we become? I am on the edge. I am ready to quit.

Trance mask technique – Introduction to the trance

by Alex Fradera

Many cultures have used masks as a ritual technology to facilitate possession states and conjure entities from beyond. Here we explore a western 20th century tradition that borrows from these roots. It strips away the religious requirements, but is not without its mystery. Masks are a way to access something powerful that is immediate and obvious to bystanders. This technique is less about "performing to" than about "being amongst", which perhaps makes it a better fit to larp than attempting to tame it for the stage. This session is a conversation to allow those unfamiliar with the technique to hear more about it. The technique itself will be illustrated via video examples. A separate session allows the opportunity to experience the technique first-hand.

This technique was originally developed by Keith Johnstone and outlined in the seminal text Impro. It has been kept alive by his student Steve Jarand, and the lineage continues through a new generation of mask-workers. Leading this session, Alex Fradera has been working with mask for three years in Europe, Canada and the UK. He is a trained psychologist.

Social Conflict and Bleed in Role-Playing Communities version 2.0

by Sarah Lynne Bowman
Last year, I discussed preliminary ideas regarding problems within social dynamics in role-playing communities. Since then, I have conducted over thirty interviews, both nationally and internationally. A longer version of the paper will be presented at this year’s Role-playing in Games Seminar in Tampere. This talk will explain my findings in detail. Riffing off last year’s “De-fucking” workshop, I will offer suggestions for diffusing conflict pre-game, during game, and post-game, including workshopping and debriefing. Personality traits and behaviors that disrupt player groups will be detailed, as will behaviors that help enhance communal cohesion. Player cultures from the U.S. and the Nordic countries will be contrasted. Participant discussion is highly encouraged!

Hour of the rant - 2012 edition

by Claus Raasted
Was KAPO really about fucking monkeys? Is the Swedish Barda feminist enough? And what's up with the fact that Playground Magazine is already dead and then it isn't? The hour of the rant is the place to vent your frustrations and talk trash about the issues that need talking about. International Man of Mystery and Agent Provocateur Claus Raasted hosts this series of ten five-minute-rants that promise to be both amusing, enlightening and debate-provoking.

This Year in Larp Academia

by J.Tuomas Harviainen
The traditional, arrogant lecture on larp-related academic and some other publications that have been published since the last Knutpunkt. All the text you wish you had time to read, described and evaluated for easy access. Did Montola say something new this year about bleed? Did the editors manage to publish a new issue of IJRP? Should you know something from Larp Frescos, even if it may be in Italian?

Don't Touch or I'll Sue: American Larp as National Metaphor

by Lizzie Stark
American larp's got lots of rules, infrequent touching, and epic hyperbole. That's because it's as American as reality TV. This talk treats a US boffer campaign as a cultural artifact, examining how cultural litigiousness shapes gameplay, how rules reveal an American vision of equality, and how leveling up recreates our most sacred national myths.

Game: Playing With Intent

by Matthijs Holter and Emily Boss
Playing With Intent is a framework for play that lets you explore not only the fiction, but the techniques that make up a play session. By choosing your techniques for a given instance and scene your group is able to pick the tools which will heighten the experience at each specific moment. Come to learn about it and try it out - we'll talk briefly and play a lot.

Solmukohta 2012 | info@solmukohta.org