Documentation of Baader Meinhof eXperiment – black box edition

The norwegian scenario BMX was written to use the oppurtunity of two appartments in the same block inhabitet by prominent larp writers and organizers;  on one hand Eirik Fatland & Li Xin and on the other hand Erlend Eidsem Hansen. This was the setup:

Two rooms, next door : the security police and activists.

One wall divides them – One focus tears them apart, ideology
One group of participants plays the police, the surveillance department and the paramilitary
the other group plays activists, communists and anarchists

The game was well documented by Li Xin and Håken Lid.

When me and Ebba Petrén brought it to Stockholm last spring we decided to put it in an abstract black-box environment instead of a realistic setting. The idea was to make the presence of each sides obvious to the players of the game allthough their characters were yet to find out.

A room with black walls, neutral floor and dynamic light put people and bodies in focus. One can be tempted to think of the black box as a neutral ground where “pure” role-playing can happen, with no surrounding distractions. Allthough black, square and clean the box is far from unbiased, it severely affect how we think and do live role-playing.

The stage is transparent. Everything can be seen, but not necessarily heard, by everyone. The participants move through a void, but proximity becomes a distinct tool.

Here are some images from the enactment in Stockholm, where I had the oppurtunity to hide in the shadows, manipulating the lights and taking pictures.

The Baader-Meinhof eXperiment Stockholm

Vi hjälper Erlend Eidsen Hansen att sätta upp detta lysande scenario i Stockholm på tisdag. Det finns 20 platser och vi kör på Riksteatern i Hallunda.

The Baader-Meinhof eXperiment Stockholm

Two rooms, next door : the securitypolice and activists.

One wall divides them – One focus tears them apart, ideology
One group of participants plays the police, the surveillance department and the paramilitary
the other group plays activists, communists and anarchists
An interactive drama about the extreme left of Swedish activists in the 1970s,
the officers that monitor them, and the terrorists who try to recruit them.

We are in a space in a collective of Stockholm. The year is 1975. Abba has won the European Song Contest last year. The 1st of May is drawing to a close. What will be the main slogan? Will the Israelis come to Stockholm during the Grand Prix Final?

A group of peace activists and KPml(R) have a visit from a group of fresh new members of the RAF (Red Army Faction).
Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof and two others are in prison in West Germany.
The RAF plan to do a politcal action in connection with the embassy in Stockholm.
The police do not intend to let this fraction ever reach their goal. But who is a terrorist, who is not? When is it terrorism?
A group of watchers have found the group and installed monitoring equipment in the apartment.
It’s just a matter of hours before the authorities have enough evidence to strike against them.

Several members of the collective do not particularly enjoy having a visit from their old communist friends who have taken up arms after a visit to the Commune 1 (K1) large squat-collective of Berlin, in 1969.

Besides being an exciting thriller this event will hopefully also reveal parallels between our time and our recent past:

  • Where are the borders between “activist” and “extremist”? What draws people to cross it?
  • Where is the line between abuse of power and control over the situation for police and authorities?

ADRESS: Riksteatern, Hallundavägen 30.
DIRECTIONS: Subway to Hallunda, red line towards Norsborg. The ride takes 35 min. — MAP
CONTACT ERLEND: erlendeh at
PRACTICALITIES: Gabriel Widing, +46735707959,


Foto: Li Xin

Verklighetsspel och mediekonsumtion

I sin essä ”This is Not a Game” (pdf) undersöker Jane McGonigal, doktor i performativitetsstudier vid Berkeley, vad som hände under och efter ett av de tidiga spel som går under termen alternate reality game. The Beast som producerades i samband med premiären av Artificial Intelligence. De som tillsammans löste The Beast var en grupp på över 7000 spelare som organiserade sig genom nätet och gick under namnet Cloudmakers. Med sin kollektiva kraft hade de löst alla mysterier som speltilllverkarna satt ihop, det som var menat att intrigera folk som sett filmen i månader reddes ut inom loppet av ett par dagar. Mysterierna skingrades och spelarna visste inte vad de skulle ta sig för därnäst. Under hösten skedde terrorattentaten mot World Trade Center och Pentagon. Händelsen försatte stora delar av den amerikanska befolkningen i en passiviserad skräck. Många av spelarna i Cloudmakers reagerade annorlunda. De betraktade händelsen med en spelares ögon. McGonial citerar en av dem: ”We can solve the puzzle of who the terrorists are”. Spelarna var beredda att ta sig an det verkliga mysteriet på samma sätt som de tagit sig an The Beast. Efter ett par dagar gick Cloudmakers grundare ut med ett meddelande där de uppmanade spelarna i kollektivet att inte försöka lösa terroristattacken och därmed rann ambitionerna tyvär ut i sanden.

The Beast upplevdes aldrig som verklighet men dess dramaturgi och gameplay var uppenbarligen så nära verkligheten att de som spelat hade kunnat fortsätta att agera och förhålla sig på samma sätt till en verklig händelse som till spelet. Istället för att förhålla sig till medierna som källor till konsumtion, så förhåller sig spelarna till dem som ledtrådar i ett mysterium, där alla sanningar inte kommit fram. Verklighetsspelen får således uppenbara konsekvenser för hur man förhåller sig till medier.