lunes, 29 de febrero de 2016

A primer on Mediterranean Larp - or its absence

Picture from la sirena varada, taken by Esperanza Montero

Starting first with Robota and later with la sirena varada (The Stranded Mermaid), designed by Somnia, or with Blue Flame in Spain, and taking in account the events conceived by Terre Spezzate on Italy, in some Spanish larp circles the expression Mediterranean Larp has been recently coined to speak about a Southern European school or style which would be influenced by Nordic Larp but had its own proper features (and in this 'school' the events of the Snara group could be also included).

As a codesigner and organizer of the first two larps previously mentioned, I disagree on using Mediterranean Larp as anything but a dream for the future, a content indicator or, right now, a marketing label. 

Mediterranean Larp, as a school or style, does not have an unified tradition or strong communication between the different and varied larp environments of Mediterranean countries. Communication between Spain and Italy is quite recent, just some individuals who attend larps in both countries without a deep discussion, neither in a theorical neither practical, about larp understood as a common cultural phenomenon. There are not significant contact with Southern French, Greek or other Mediterranean larp scenes. Besides, the larp circles interested in these exchanges are minorities that don’t really represent the vast majority of larp players in each country. What is certain is the existence of Nordic-style larps that are not properly ‘Nordic’, not by geography, not by cultural identity, not by larp background and experiences (as historic and sociological circumstances are vastly different in Spain and Italy from the Nordic countries).

Regarding this, to intensify communication and the emergence of a real deep discussion is a project for the future, but not a current reality.

On the other hand, if Mediterranean Larp is taken as a content indicator, we could speak about it in case a larp event uses values, myths, character and worldviews belonging to Mediterranean culture from its design roots and expresses them in the larp itself. Any event could not qualify as such just because it is designed or organized by Spanish, Italian, French or Greek people. Currently, considering the larps mentioned at the beginning of this article, la sirena varada could be identified with this content indicator without further issues. The example at hand is too specific to talk about a generalized school or style. However, future larps that take and expand that content indicator will be much welcomed and supported.

Currently, ‘Mediterranean Larp’ is a marketing label used to distinguish certain larps, but it is not without its own problems, as the criteria followed to label a larp with it are subjective by need. It would be for the best that this label will be backed up by a future school or style or a widespread content indicator, and this can only be done through common work and communication between the larp scenes of Mediterranean European countries.

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