Physical and Alternate Reality Narratives (PARN)

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The central focus of the PARN project is dealing with the possibilities and problems of creating, presenting and representing narratives in physical space. Storytelling is a fundamental human capacity and is widespread in a variety of cultural forms as well as being one of the ways in which, according to many researchers of learning and awareness, we make sense of the world as we experience and reflect it. As the acclaimed poet Simon Ortiz puts it: “there are no truths, only stories.” FoAM’s role in PARN is to research and design an alternate reality narrative, an emerging story-scape inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka’s creed “the ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”

With the advent of massive urbanisation, labour specialisation and new forms of entertainment, our relationship with nature has become frayed. This relationship can be re-invigorated by straddling the places where nature and culture are most distanced - urban and online environments. With alternate reality narratives (ARN), we look at engaging people in a new kind of immersive story, where nature and culture interact. The story embraces the innovative and participatory capabilities of new technologies, adapted to today’s turbulent ecosystems and grounded in the cultural traditions of the past. The ARNs combine a range of contemporary storytelling media with diverse European urban contexts, cultures and people, through a rich story and speculative history.

PARN is coordinated by Time’s Up (AT), in collaboration with FoAM (BE), Lighthouse (UK) and Blast Theory (UK). FoAM’s additional allies, partners and advisors in PARN are Six to Start (UK), Foamlab (NL), Synfonie (UK) and Tale of Tales (BE).

With the support of the Culture 2007-2013 Framework of the European Commision and the Flemish Authorities.