Sunday, 12 February 2012

Mobile Life

You know it's a good sign when you don't write about a trip you're taking until after you've taken it. The week of the 30th was an intense few days of representing my project at Surrey's postgrad conference, mixed with getting ready for my visit to the Mobile Life centre in Kista, just north of Stockholm. And then the really intense bit began.

Thursday morning the 2nd, I was up at 4:30 to get the plane to Stockholm and went straight from Arlanda to Mobile Life, where I was whisked to lunch (Thursday ärtsoppa och pannakakor med sylt och grädde, yum!) and then to a public seminar that was like a pre-viva. From there no rest for the wicked, off immediately to Västerås for a larp (live action role playing) convention, where I immersed myself in a Mobile Life game test and Nordic larp culture for the weekend.

Then I had the week at Mobile Life, where I gave a talk on Monday and otherwise chatted with people, raided their library, drank their coffee, and tried to make myself as useful as I could in return.

Some observations:
* Nordic larp is freakishly intense and utterly fascinating, not least because of the mix of people who get so passionately involved. It's not your straight-up D&D/SCA contingent, but neither is it a straight-up artsy theatre contingent, or even a mix of the two. To my untutored eye, this means that it's more about the content of what they're doing than the self-conscious promotion of a group image. In other words, unless you happen to be dressed as a medieval warrior at that moment, there's no obvious marker as to whether you're into post-apocalyptic scenarios or small-scale family dramas about incest, fantasy towns populated by dragons or fantastic rooms filled four inches deep with flour. In fact, maybe you do all of the above. Wow.

* The people at Mobile Life work damn hard, but once you get them chatting, they overflow with interesting ideas, experiences, and opinions. I am so grateful for every chat!

* Annika Waern has a real talent for absorbing my ramblings about my project and extracting exactly those elements that her area of expertise could shed light on. I'm amazed how she cut through the wooly bits with some really solid advice. I couldn't have asked for anything better right now that I'm trying to solidify my designs - and more importantly, to solidify what the heck those designs are for.

* The Swedish Internet of Things Day... I have to admit that the technical bits went over my head, but Kia Höök's comments about performing with technology made me feel like I'm on the right track, and Oskar Juhlin's observations about the transition from professional to amateur might just be the key to one of my main arguments.

This post probably sounds like the delirious gushings of a fangirl, so I will balance it out with some negative comments about my week in Sweden.

Here they are:
* The chicken wraps at the (free) lunch on Thursday were too small for a non-Swedish appetite.

* The (free) food at the larp convention was located a ten-minute walk through the bitter cold.

* There is no third complaint. That's as bad as it got - the freebies weren't delivered to me by unicorn in my own heated palace. Yep, that about sums it up.