Now Play This returns to Somerset House in Spring 2024 with a new edition of the festival. As in previous years we want to use the festival to delve into a pressing subject, and find ways that games can shed a new light on the unexpected aspects of it. And so, for 2024 we are excited to announce…
The spaces in between
The theme of the upcoming 2024 edition will revolve around one word: LIMINAL. We aim to explore the spaces in-between. Liminal can refer to a feeling, a concept, a reality. It may describe a work that defies labelling, a mental state, or the geopolitical situation many face today. The term ‘liminal’ refers to a state of transition—it could signify the onset of a new phase or the suspension between worlds. Heidegger posited that each work of art opens a world. In truth, they open multiple worlds: those of the artists and those of the audience, or the interactor. Now Play This, therefore, will not only invite visitors into the artists’ imaginations but also encourage them to uncover facets of their own worlds. Amid this convergence, we may find ourselves journeying through the spaces in-between.
Deadline: 11.59pm Wednesday 11th October
For this new edition we’re once again opening up a call for playful makers and creators to tell us about their work.
We are looking for games (digital, non-digital or mixed), installations, playful activities and workshops in a variety of shapes and expressions that align with the theme of this edition. We are open to other interpretations of the theme, but we do ask you to demonstrate clearly how the work submitted connects to it.
Think about your body, the space that surrounds you and how you perceive it, about the way you relate to others. Think of the immersive walkable woven installations of Ernesto Neto where you can lose your sense of self and feel like walking on air, or the surrealist creations of Bernardo Erlich that play with the senses and invite us to wonder about parallel realities. It could be any playable installation or site specific work that toys around space, light and materials and invites its audience to jump into new worlds like Mary Poppins paintings or Alice’s rabbit hole. Think also about architectural wonderlike gameworlds like the worlds Moshe Linke or Connor Sherlock create, or mystic scenarios where the rules fade away such as Proteus, or even platformer games like Limbo. Think also about games that deal with migration and blurry limits as political manifestos like Bury me, my Love or Papers Please.
Now, switch perspectives, close your eyes and look inside you. Think about the transitions you made or are going through, about the person you used to be and who you are now or who you want to become. Think about that feeling of being between stages that we all have at different points of our life. It could be something abstract like Gris or a life inspired game as Mainichi. A psychological experience such as What remains of Edith Finch or a narrative journey as Kentucky Route Zero.
All in all, liminality exists on the margins, the borders, and the transitions. Liminality is all about the-spaces-in-between.
Your proposal can:
- touch on the concept of liminality from an aesthetic perspective whether it is from a narrative, visual or experiential way.
- investigate liminality from a social, conceptual or theoretical perspective.
- defy traditional categories and be about playfulness, experimentation and creation.
- envision different presents and futures. It should be a work that fosters new cultures and identities.
- reflect critically on the meaning of being in liminality as a transitional state of living from a political outlook, a psychological approach, a queer perspective or a cultural point of view.
We are particularly interested in proposals (games, playful installations and activities) that:
- are games (digital or physical) that give the player a non-traditional position
- take place outdoors, re appropriating and re-signifying public space, creating liminal experiences between public and private: e.g. walks, street games, sounds landscapes.
- family friendly experiences that foster the interaction and dialogue between family members.
- liminal playful activities inspired, centred or around games that can happen either on-site or virtually. For instance tours within a game, alternative ways of playing together, conversation encounters around existing games from an outside videogames perspective.
- workshops and talks around liminality and games, whether it refers to the game making process, aspects of games themselves or the world around them.
We welcome submissions of unfinished or prototype work, and can work with creators to realise a finished piece for the festival.
We aim to be as inclusive as possible and work to accommodate all access requirements. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org! We will happily discuss and tailor how we do things to support you as best we can.
To submit your idea please complete the open call form here. If you can, try to submit before the deadline since we’ll be reading all submissions as they come in.
We strongly encourage submissions from marginalised and underrepresented creatives within games and playful art.
The festival pays a honorarium for exhibited projects and provides all hardware required to display (where applicable). We can also cover additional expenses required to showcase work depending on the scope of the piece.
While we would love to see you there, creators are not required to attend the festival for their work to be presented, and we are actively seeking to reduce the impact of travel associated with festivals like ours. If a work is dependent on your presence, e.g. an outdoor workshop, then we will cover limited train travel and accommodation expenses. We are open to working with you on realising your submission without your presence on site, either by supporting you to run your work online/remotely, by training facilitators and/or players to deliver your work based upon materials or instructions that you provide, or by other creative means.
We will aim to respond to all submissions by Thursday 30th November. Due to the volume of submissions we receive we will not be able to provide detailed feedback.
If you have any other queries, comments or feedback then please email email@example.com