Archive for October, 2013

Sorry about the title, but always when I see an iceberg, I think about Titanic. Not even really the ferry, but the movie.

But anyway. A popular iceberg metaphor illustrates “hidden culture”. Most of the iceberg is not visible and the world of assumptions, habits, beliefs that may not be consciously articulated or taught can’t be learned when looking for the part that’s above water. Some of the deepest things people never even realize to be part of the iceberg. I know many of you have heard about it time and time again. As it’s not really an essential part of educational sciences research tradition, I crossed this first time last week at an university course about teaching home economics to multicultural groups. I usually try to put everything on the context where I’m more familiar with, as it makes stuff easier to remember.

Seeing larp culture as one kind of culture, gave me a strong Eureka moment. I and many people I know have went to larp abroad. And afterwards some of us (me included) have been disappointed on what we got, as we knew something about local larp culture, and expected the rest to be like back home. Which of course won’t work, as if game is 6 times longer than typical Finnish game, the character probably won’t have 6 times more to accomplish, so the playing style also might differ and goals for the game etc.

And there’re plenty of examples of people expecting something more like at home and then disappointing. Some Latvians were surprised about how Finns immerse into character, not into the scene, a certain Finnish girl was very surprised when and art exhibition in an Irish Vampire game was done with papers stating here’s a sculpture, here’s a painting. And how some US players told afterwards how strongly they felt about certain provocation attempts in the US run of Mad about the Boy, but didn’t show it at all during the game.

I tried to scratch some kind of model of the hidden larp culture, that we know so well in our own culture that we forget to tell about it to foreigners and also expect to stuff to work same way in other parts of world too.

Here’s a link to original picture of Iceberg model of Culture and here’s how I see it. Some of the tems are stuck to my head from the Mixing desk of Larp, so some credit to the organizers of Larp Summer School 2012 organizers. Also some ideas are from Suvi and Santeri who I’ve talked about this.

This doesn’t really give any great answers, expect maybe some ideas what to communicate to your players if they all, or some of them are unfamiliar with your larp culture.

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