Good morning, playful souls.
I am Anne-Lorraine, writing to you from sunny Berlin. I find joy in the color red, watching people and sunsets, and making tiny books with friends. I have a background in organizational psychology and a day job writing for a creative consultancy where I tempt my colleagues into impromptu Haiku writing.
In play, I full-body understood this: rules are written and can be rewritten, even if just for now and here—even those of everyday routines and old stories of the good life. In play, I can explore what I care about and practice agency. These new ways to respond to the world and express what I value stick with me when I leave the magic circle.
Because games can teach agency I am curious about whether and how they work in norm-heavy environments—at work, in public spaces, on first dates. If norms and rules keep a context steady and people are invested in the status quo, then games are a revolutionary threat.
That is why I wrote my MSc thesis on games and play in organizations. The conclusion: often, games in organizations have little long-term effect or feel unsafe. I came up with eight suggestions on how to walk this line. Ping me if you want more on this.
Since 2016, I translate what I encounter of the world into games. With changing constellations of lovely people, I’ve made social and site-specific games ranging from 2-60 players, 5 minutes - 3 days, weeks in preparation and improvised on the spot. Some of them are about noticing when we are present with each other, playing with the spaces that shape how we act and giving each other exceptional compliments.
My favorite game was a 60-minute game-tour for three audiences of twenty in a stunning building next to Berlin’s Brandenburger Tor. Facility management was proud and protective of the place—understandably. The game we wrote invited the audience to play with the seemingly solid structures that scaffold our lives. I craved for them to feel free to wrestle with this environment while honoring the desire of the Keepers of Order to find the place in shiny glory afterward. One player built a pyramid of glasses and kept pouring fizzy water over them. It dripped over the table, the cloth, onto the ground. A steady flow. That moment of watching this grown-up all immersed in pouring in unusual places, free of the worry of someone telling him off, was damn sweet.
Now, I want to move this practice of game-making into the center of my days. I want to make games that unforeseen players join as they pass by, games that courageously take place in the neighborhoods and public spaces we share. Games that interweave the fantastic stories we tell ourselves about the places we inhabit. That invite unusual acts, unusual moods to areas we pass through assuming we need to show up in certain ways and hide all else we are.
Which is why Trust in Play intrigues me so much—I want to commit time and focus on growing this practice. And it is why reading through your introductions made my cheeks tingle: I want to be with people who care about games, whose heads are full of stories and ideas, who can do stuff I cannot and whom I can learn from and build with. With you, I want to create together what escapes us alone.
With hugs and sunshine,