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Symposium: Liveness at Play!

2019-10-03 @ 13:00 - 16:00

A discussion of…


What is liveness? 

How do we do liveness? 

This event is part of the weeklong planning session for the new SSHRC project “Scaling Liveness in Participatory Experiences” which looks at “liveness” across three different but neighboring practices: participatory theatre, larps (live action role playing games) and digital-physical games.

Lynn Hughes and Bart Simon, co-founders of TAG, head up the project with their Concordia collaborator, Noah Drew (Theatre) along with the main PhD researcher on the project, JoDee Allen. The international collaborators will be here for the week: Jorge Ramos (ZU Theatre, London) and Jaakko Sternos (University of Tampere, Finland). In addition, for this event, two special invited guests, Lawrence Switsky (Theatre, University of Toronto) and Matteo Uguzzoni (Game Design, Maryland Institute of Art) will join us. 



JoDee Allen is currently pursuing a research/creation PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities at Concordia University. Her research, which looks at videogame control schemes as choreography, has been presented and performed internationally at conferences and industry events, including producing an exhibition entitled the Digital Dance Arcade, in the Santa Monica Art Centre in Barcelona; and being awarded an Artist-in-Residence position at the Flux Laboratories in Geneva, testing the impact that interface and notation have on players’ learning dance through videogames.

Noah Drew is an “all-terrain theatre artist” originally from Vancouver. He has worked across North America, and in Europe and South America, as an actor, composer, sound designer, writer/director/dramaturge and teacher.Noah’s research and research-creation focuses on exploring strategies for cultivating and catalyzing heightened states of presence in performers and audiences. Noah’s work draws on aspects of sensory immersion and sensory dramaturgy; (auto)ethnography and a dynamic interplay between true lived experiences and fiction; gamified theatre, and somatic practices.

Lynn Hughes is Professor Emeritus in Studio Arts at Concordia University, where she held the Chair of Interaction Design and Games Innovation from 2004 to 2018. Between 2000 and 2015, she was instrumental in the founding of three major research centres that radically changed the context for interdisciplinary training in new media art/design and games in Montreal. Her production focuses on collaborative process and the design of ludic hybrid physical/digital experiences. She has exhibited work all over the world and was just awarded the Omosiroi Prize in Japan.

Jorge Lopez Ramos and Persis-Jadeé Maravala are the directors of the ZU- UK interactive performance company: a highly respected theatre company with years of experience conceiving and realizing ambitious participatory theatre pieces at different scales. ZU-UK sometimes uses technology (e.g binaural sound or VR) to augment the intensity of a dramatic situation, but is still seeking ways to reduce the burden on actors’ bodies, through different ways of using technology. They want to produce experiences for large numbers of participants by developing new approaches that make this feasible and sustainable. 

Bart Simon is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Concordia University. Simon is a sociologist specializing in digital culture and game studies and is the current Director of the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology. He has written extensively on social interaction in digital games and play with previous SSHRC funded projects on the role-play cultures of Massively Multiplayer Online Games (like World of Warcraft), gestural and embodied games (focused on the Nintendo Wii

Jaakko Stenros from the Tampere University, Finland, teaches Game Studies at the Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies at Tampere. He has published eight books and over 50 articles and reports, and received many awards. He has done extensive research on larps and the aesthetics of social play, often with a focus on unusual games, game jams, queer play, role-playing games and pervasive games. He has worked with experimental theatre companies and is world-expert on how Larping communities develop and self-structure.

Lawrence Switzky is an Associate Professor of English and Drama at the University of Toronto. He is the incoming editor of the journal Modern Drama and has books forthcoming on Shakespeare and the non-human and on theatre directing and modernist aesthetics as well as a volume of Bernard Shaw’s plays from Oxford World’s Classics. His current research is on the entanglement of modern theatre and performance and the early development of artificial intelligence.

Matteo Uguzzoni is an architect and a game designer, his practice focus on creating transformative experience blending real life game and theater. He co-founded Urban Games Factory an Italian collective active in different forms since 2009. He is the host of The Playcast ,a podcast about immersive theater, real life games and everything in between. He is currently teaching at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore) and director of the Nomadic Branch of Trust in Play – the European School of Urban Game Design.