My name is Kiprianos and I live in Athens.
A few months ago I deciding to quit my job and explore the idea of working with physical and urban games as a participatory art form. What a niche genre to step into, right before finding out a project like this will start in your city! For this opportunity and the excellent first two webinars you have already produced, I am thankful beyond words!
Regarding my background I studied photography, worked in marketing (targeting and audience building), I am obsessed with all forms of communication, and love games both as entertainment and as an impactful form of expression. Most relevant for urban gaming I also had the luck to participate in Team Scarlet that created Status, a physical game with a political theme, inspired from the folk game Musical Chairs.
I always enjoyed visual and performing arts, but it wasn’t until about 8 years ago that I saw gaming as a mature and engaging form of story telling. I was truly amazed by the power of this medium and it made me reevaluate things, it clicked with me more than anything until then.
A couple years ago and after a long journey, things took one more turn.
I became fascinated by the power of physicality in games, using your own body to tell a story, curated in subtle ways from the creator. I had the opportunity to see and participate in a couple of extraordinary LARPs from a Nordic team that came to Athens Biennale 2019 and see some amazing works and meet amazing people in Berlin’s A MAZE. 2018, in which we had the luck to also exhibit.
But recently I felt there is not enough such “content” in my city to consume.
Thus it made me, for the first time, actually thirsty to participate, create and help expand this beautiful scene.
And as for a story, this is my first experience with physicality in games.
We created a concept for a game in a game jam, challenged to make an art game with a political theme.
The idea was to play musical chairs but with all the chairs being truly uncomfortable (conveying our feeling for todays politics) and with each one being clearly worst than the previous, underlying the existence of different classes in a society.
It was a concept we loved but we couldn’t present it just by talking about it.
We decided to make a video presentation, but to shoot a playthrough we had to find some players in the game jam.
It wasn’t easy in a convention to sell the idea of sitting on cigaret buds, sharp stones or water and then being dirty and wet for the rest of the day.
With great difficulty and the art of begging we found a small group, which gave us great footage and we all had fun for hours. But this was with the few crazy volunteers! The majority of people we asked looked at us like aliens! We never thought anyone else would like to play it.
But we were very happy with it, we presented our video proud for our participation and started packing.
And then people started asking us to play.
We quickly improvised, recreated the game, and enjoyed it for hours more, still shocked!
Earlier we couldn’t talk four people into it, but now more than a dozen was actively asking for it, just by seeing that other adults were having fun.
We learned that day that fun doesn’t care about dirt or water, about your public image or your self-awareness!
Pure fun is very contagious, some times even misunderstood and always extremely powerful!
This was the day I first thought that in the world of entertainment fun is neglected to say the least, and today I think the issue of trust in play is indeed more relevant than ever.