Saturday, October 27, 2007

Live Action Role Playing

Listening to this week's podcast of On the Media just now, I heard a segment about a LARP documentary called Darkon in which beauty was noted twice. Daniel McArthur, one of the game's participants mentioned, "I've actually got a relationship trying to go on in character with a certain nomad, and I've been following and helping this person more than anybody else, and it's cost me several things -- like my life on several occasions -- but it's beautiful." A few minutes later, Andrew Neel, the documentary's co-director with Luke Meyer said, "I think television, and online role-playing games, and video games, they're kind of the opposite of Darkon because they feed you the fantasy. They remove you from the process of creation and destruction, and that's one of the things that I think makes Darkon so warty and idiosyncratic and in that way beautiful. And so, while Darkon seems so weird, it's actually very human and makes perfect sense to me." It was such a pleasure to come across these words because, while I'm doing this work in part to open more people to the experiences of beauty possible in life, it is unnerving at this point to encounter and consider those that are closed off, and while they both used the word "beauty" to refer to different embodiments of it, these two men had an encouraging ease and familiarity with the concept.

Heart-warmed, and faith in humanity stable, I am left only with the intriguing work of sorting out what each man meant precisely. Neel's comment is easiest to tag as the beauty of imperfection and challenge and agency while McArthur's might be the beauty of giving oneself over to something greater.

No comments: