Platform for art and theory/fiction

The Sto­ry so Far & Omsk Social Club as a Con­cep­tu­al Framework

The Story So Far …[1]

Phone interview with a member of ARIA’s cultural think-tank—dated August 29, 2023

Yes, I can just begin with my initial thoughts.
(Pause, inhales) Well …
It matters what stories make worlds and what worlds make stories, you know?
It was never a practice run, they made that quite clear.
We understood, our fictioning; writing, imaging, performing and any other material substantiations would be potential worlds, or at the very least contracts of social bodies that marked out the trajectories and pathways different to those engendered by the dominant organization of the life currently in existence.
We had our offices on the 8th floor of a skyscraper. If you have ever read J. G. Ballard’s High-Rise, our goal was to demolish this disenchanted corpse without even a speck of silica being dislodged, metaphysically speaking of course (laughs).
The days had a sort of twisted time system to them.
You got lost in the hyper-camouflage of it all, cultures began to overlap, and coincidences between fact and fiction started to loosen, at times this made sense—after all, an idea, they said, is a technology within itself.
The days were split into workshops, conclusive archiving and discussion units. Some thought our work became ritualistic as we began to hyper-tool these new media artefacts for other worlds.
Together and alone.
For many, including myself, the anticipation was pure uninterrupted adrenaline—would they be accepted by the people? By the community? Or would they be drowned in the socio-cultural information matrix? How would they be forked? Mutated? Grafted onto other people’s beliefs? It was always going to be organic, synthesizing these theoretical gestures in conflict and in care.

Omsk Social Club as a Conceptual Framework

Omsk Social Club is a “futuristically political” (i.e. unrealistic) immersive action group. Omsk proposes contents and makings as a form of post-political entertainment in an attempt to shadow-play politics until the game ruptures the surface we now know as Life. In the field, this is called “bleed”.

Omsk uses traditional methods of live action role play (LARP) and real game play (RGP) to induce states that could potentially be a fiction or yet unlived reality for the players. Omsk works closely with networks of players, everything is unique and unrehearsed. Omsk’s game designs examine virtual egos and popular experiences allowing the works to become dematerialized hybrids of modern-day culture alongside unique personal experiences. In the past, Omsk has designed games that have introduced landscapes and topics such as rave culture, survivalism, catfishing, desire & sacrifice, positive trolling, algorithmic strategies and decentralized cryptocurrency.

Omsk Social Club’s experiences are designed to exploit the player/s’ senses through surplus alienation. After this stage is over, the player/s should feel a sense of meshed destiny with themselves, their character, the group and the landscape that surrounds them, be it fiction or reality.

A Subjective Rationale for LARP and RGP

A live action role-playing game (LARP) is a form of role-playing game (RPG) where the participants physically act out their characters’ actions.

Real game play (RGP), a mutation of RPG (see above), is a combination of LARP and your own identity/lived experience—think of it like a meta-structure of you and the character given to you to act out.

Why Re-appropriate Life?

We re-appropriate Life out of fascination. What lies beyond the standard state of perception is commonly based on cognitive emotions and experience. RGP allows us to tap into that and use lucidity as a form of direct action.

For example, if you listen to the same track over and over and over for eighteen hours straight, as CAConrad did with Bobby Vinton’s “Blue Velvet”, you start to notice the hauntology of the active cell, which in this case is the track. CA declared he became so attuned to the track he literally had to pull the socket out of the wall to know the electricity was off and the track could no longer be played—the track became the architecture of his perception of space.

Re-appropriating life allows the human mind to be disrupted and brought into a state of the uncanny, enabling it to hack its common nodes of perception and taught identity. The uncanny could be likened to the leech and the blood—it feasts on unconscious excess. We don’t die from a leech sucking our blood, but we do enter another mode of existence, we become a life force for another being. This state is both actively restricting and cohabiting with the leech. We could call this the moment of meta-living with another being—in the case of LARP, your character.

Could This Be a Political Resistance or Re-mapping?

We are all workers today because nobody really works in the Western world. We play our roles: the guru, the cop, the young girl, the hipster, the teacher etc. We could say we have bred a new culture for the entertainment of work. Over the last decades, it has reached such a level of abstraction that we have entered another plane in our socio-economic lifestyles—one that is equally as uncanny and fantastical as the games we could play for an alternative future.

The points, focuses, knots, blockages of the body are always inflamed, but at certain moments in life, they rupture or release in radical serenity. Omsk believes the greater the party’s invisibility, the more it opposes. The greater the visibility, the more it becomes part of the integrated machine.

Is This a Theory?

One can see clearly enough that play is neither theory nor its negation, but simply something else. Theory has a simple role—to make itself understood. Fiction does not. But fiction is the apparatus needed before the theory can be set out.

Omsk Social Club 2017

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    The Real Game Play introductory text “ARIA, The Story So Far” by Omsk Social Club explores contemporary mindsets and practices of self-organization as a worlding hack. The text was originally used as a prompt to begin play, and was curated and commissioned by Tjaša Pogačar and Brandon Rosenbluth.

Omsk Social Club

is a stewarded and sprawling collective whose artistic practice is created between two lived worlds, one of life as we know it and the other of role play. These worlds bleed into one, creating a chasm of enquiry that takes the form of a specific immersive methodology, for which in 2017 they coined the term Real Game Play: collective immersion and speculative worlding. From these live iterations, media relics are harvested, such as films, scripts, and large-scale installations invoking states and gateways that could potentially be a fiction or a yet unlived reality.