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General, usually informal updates as to what I’m up to.

VideoBrains

 

Photo of me speaking into a mic

Photo from GameCity taken by Phillippa Warr

TL;DR: go here.

Exciting announcement! Jake Tucker, on the strength of a few people’s recommendations (which is awesome) has invited me to be VideoBrains‘ new resident speaker. For those of you who don’t know, VideoBrains is a (currently) London-based monthly night of talks around games. There’s a different theme each month, this month’s was All’s Fair In Love and Games (about love, sex, and games) and next month’s is Non Player Characters (and however the speakers are going to respond to the theme of NPCs)

But as it’s not just a one off talk, but 6 months as resident speaker, I have the opportunity to try out something a bit inventive. So I’m picking a theme of my own!  Starting in June I’m going to do a monthly series of talks on the psychogeography of games.

If you’ve not come across it before, psychogeography  (which my autocorrect has learnt 3 different spellings of, well done me.) is a really chewy word for how our environments make us feel; how they effect us. I’m interested in how where we come from affects what we make – so what I’m going to do is spend time with great people who make games walking in a place that is where they live, work, or is otherwise important to them.

Each month I’ll make a new performance/talk/thing in response to that experience. Each month’s thing will respond entirely to the experience of walking with game designers.

Examples of people I have spoken to about doing the thing:

  • Ed Key (Proteus): a walk through the Lake District where he lives and walks, talking about his relationship to the fell landscape, his ideas on rewilding, and the affect nature has in and on his work.
  • George Buckenham (@v21 – Cubes, Wild Rumpus, Mutazione): George grew up in far West London – near Richmond. He now lives in East London (Stepney). He and I will walk from where he lives now, to where he grew up, without once referencing a map. We won’t stop until we’ve made it.

Each one will be different. Each thing I make will be different.

There will be 3 men and 3 women (I have 6 people in mind, just haven’t had all the conversations yet) 2 of whom are based outside the UK, 2 in London, and two in Not London.

And the results will take in p much all of my practice, I might make interactive sound based performance for a crowd, I might do a new piece of storytelling or spoken word inspired by our conversations, it might just be a photo tour of where we went and what we saw.

If you’re interested in the sound of this, you can help, too. I’ve set up a Patreon – which is sort of monthly subscription crowdfunding – you can cancel at any time, but if you choose to put $5 or so my way each month, it’ll go towards supporting me do a really cool thing, which is going to take up a bit more time than an average talk (4-5 days a month I reckon). Plus if you do choose to back me in making this thing then you’ll get all of the inside knowledge – who I’m walking with, all of the source material and thoughts that those who see the videos of the final pieces won’t see, and there are a couple of cool rewards, plus a zine I’ll make of the 6 pieces that you can get at the end of this year/beginning of the next.

So yeah, read more about that on Patreon and look out for me at VideoBrains from June!

Ironman is go!

I AM MAKING A SHOW ABOUT SPORT IT IS EXCITING.

This is a long overdue update because most of the updating on this has been via a new subdomain I set up for Ironman especially. And all my new writing is going in Zines or on tumblr blogs. But basically I am currently in Newcastle in the first week of making (provisional title, and probably not the final one because it’s a trademark and stuff) IRONMAN. Which is my latest bit of work about the physiology and psychology of endurance sport. IT FEATURES ME ACTUALLY DOING A REALLY BIG BIT OF ENDURANCE SPORT.

Here’s what I’ve written about the show in that way where you write things before you know what the thing will actually be:

Ironman is about our bodies in a world that transports our minds places bodies can’t follow. Ironman is about the physiology of endurance – when our brains tell our bodies to stop – and the psychology of carrying on. A 2.4k swim, 112 miles of cycling, then running a marathon. It is about how the thing that shocks people the most is when you tell them you’re not allowed headphones. Just you, alone, body and mind, and the next moment. For 12 hours (or more) It’s also about things like my friend who died, John. About the marathon I ran in his memory. It’s about the reasons I cycle, swim, and run. 

I’m working with a documentary maker Niall Coffey, Alex Kelly as designer and dramaturg, 3 whole scientists/psychologists, a coach, at 4 theatres, and with support from 3 different funders. I’m EXCITED.

If that’s interesting sounding to you, you can COME TO A WORK IN PROGRESS SHOWING. There are two next week in Newcastle on the 12th (6pm) and 13th (3pm) of Feb showing very early days two weeks of R&D. It’s totally free to attend, but you do need to book. I’ll also let you know when it’ll be in Sheffield, Stockton, and London further down the line.

And you can follow my training/making process as I blog it at ironman.hannahnicklin.com

172 days until the event. Eek.

 Also I did some other things recently, which you might find interesting:

Other things! Since I last blogged (blimey this was a long time ago), Fun Palaces came and went and was a great big bit of fun. I’m really proud of the work I did as ‘Digital Champion’ on the project

I did an interview with Eleanor Turney at The Space about that work, and generally things I think about how we think about ‘digital’. Said article saw the coining of the nickname ‘Digital Grinch’ for me which I am totally down with.

I’ve also been trying to get better at poetry still, by putting things up on xpoemxday.tumblr.com as and when I write them. I’m quite proud of this poem about my mum.

I performed Songs For Breaking Britain as part of the All Change Festival and it got a lovely write up on Exeunt: “the voices that Nicklin has collected speak of unemployment, of despair, of fear and lack of inspiration. But there is also joy and hope and huge generosity.”Catherine Love

I made a new thing – a durational performance game called Games We Have Known And Loved’ which collects stories of games and play that debuted at GameCity 9 in October, and which also went to Dialogue Festival in November.

I also wrote a 20 minute piece of spoken word out of all of the stories I collected for the closing party of GameCity – It had a lovely write up in Rock Paper Shotgun and you can buy it in Zine form on my new exciting ‘shop’ (I’m going to put up a first zine of collected poems soon* too!). It’s cheap. You should buy it and then wait ages for me to post it because I’m in Newcastle right now, come on, pay attention.

*at some point.

And finally, I’m enjoying working more in and around games, particularly advocating for games in culture/arts/funding spheres – I’m currently doing some associate producing with The Space and have written an article on the bits of games that cross over with art/performance in the UK. 

Great things that my friends are doing that you should check out too.

  • The Lifes & Loves of a Nobody by Third Angel (half of whom I’m working with in Newcastle right now!) is at The Albany in Deptford until Saturday
  • Everything Harry Giles does, generally, most recently FarmForm and this lovely Twine gamepoem
  • And check out these two gamepoems from @v21 and Holly Gramazio
  • Plus the Pornography For Beginners blockpushing game that Holly made in reaction to the UK’s porn updated (outdated) legislation.
  • Adam Dixon‘s frankly cavalier promise to make a new game a week this year is throwing up some lovely stuff.
  • Jack Bennett is currently touring with Too Much Too Young which I’m excited to see next week.
  • Unfolding Theatre‘s Lands of Glass is touring too, which looks much fun.
  • I’ve played The Quiet Year recently and found it totally mesmerising (only $8 all you need is 6 dice, some counters, and a pack of cards to play).
  • Also, lots of new stuff coming up at Sprint Festival at CPT, including a new work in progress from Action Hero, and My Mate Pat Ashe‘s night of games and performance Beta Public. Which will probably be OK (it always sells out).
  • Finally, Olympians have a new record coming out SOME TIME. Like, it’s taking ages, but just before the end of the year they released a single from it. Why not round your evening/morning/afternoon off with Brunch Cannon?