Brains, Interaction Design and Nordic Larp Talks

NLTwin

On Monday, I had the pleasure of hosting “Day of the Brain”, Hjärnans dag, an event gathering top-tier neuroscientists and other brain researchers for a day of communicating their findings in a popular fashion. The event is organized by the Hjärnfonden charity, which funds basic and specialized research with millions of desperately needed crowns at all Swedish universities connected to the field. I was thrilled to learn among many other things that the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease is in the process of an utter revolution. If the drug currently in clinical trials turn out to be the answer, the enormous suffering and cost it causes to day may be pretty much wiped out within a decade. Please support Hjärnfonden. The full programme of Hjärnans Dag was recorded by UR Samtiden and will pop up on the internet and on television at some point (Swedish).

On Tuesday, I went to GUC, a very special high school in Uppsala, to talk. It was World Book Day, but instead of literature in the traditional sense I chose to speak about larp, game design and interactive storytelling as a tool for understanding the negotiable nature of reality and society. The students totally got it! This pleases me to no end, since I’ve never spoken on that exact topic for a non-specialist audience before, and the talk will inevitably be a lot better the tenth time around. But they said kind things afterwards, and looked appropriately awed by the Monitor Celestra pictures I showed them. Thank you guys so much for having me, for stocking my books in your AMAZING school library, and for the lunch in the school cafeteria – which boasts a genius experience design feature: people from neighbouring businesses can buy lunch there for a pittance, I think it was SEK 55 (about EUR 6,5). They come because it’s great value; the school pretty much funds its food programme (free for all students) with the income, and the presence of extra grown-ups makes the lunches calmer. Not to mention that the school opens up towards the community. Win-win!

The reason larp was on my mind yesterday was that I’d spent a long weekend at the Knutepunkt conference – my 16th time! – which totally deserves a blog post of its own that I probably won’t have time to write. One of the many highlights of the week was the Nordic Larp Talks, now in its fourth year. The pic above (by Johannes Axner) shows me, apparently, yelling at the audience. The one below shows me with the editors of this year’s four Knutebooks. The talks were streamed by Falkevik and Danehav, as usual, and were a great success thanks to the amazing speakers.

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