Curated by Marth von Loeben
The Shimmering Land is a duo exhibition that will feature the artworks of Crimean artists Natalia Grezina and Anton Yermolov, who have been working alongside curator Marth von Loeben on a project about lost heritage and Crimean culture. The exhibition will open on the 29 April 2023 and will be publicly available until mid September 2023.
The starting point of the concept behind the exhibition is the collection from Ukraine known as “Crimean Gold” or “Scythian Gold” which was featured at the Allard Pierson museum in Amsterdam, in 2014. The exhibition “Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea” happened to close its doors just after the annexation of Crimea by the Russian government, which left all the historical artefacts in a state of limbo at first, and then at the centre of a ferocious legal battle. The exhibition in the Netherlands wanted to show the critical role of the Crimean peninsula in ancient times since it was a crossroad of cultures, trading routes and many conflicts.
The aftermath of this intent, though, saw the artefacts that were torn out of the Crimean museums to be shut off and become inaccessible to the scientists that found, preserved and studied them. Crimean people were also deprived of a huge part of their historical past and, since then, have had no chance to reconnect with their heritage. The project wants to show how the situation around the Scythian Gold collection has since then become a metaphor for the Crimean population, which is feeling stuck between two conflicting parties, much like the artefacts, now buried in a storage facility owned by the museum and unable to return home.
Land - role playing game
Facilitated by artist and play designer Jana Romanova
“The Shimmering Land” role play takes its name and inspiration from the exhibition that features the artworks of Crimean artists Natalia Grezina and Anton Yermolov, who have been working alongside curator Marth von Loeben on a project about the lost heritage. The exhibition is currently on the show at Chrysalid Gallery and the play will take place in one of its rooms on the 25th and 26th of August. You can choose one or these dates to participate.
During this short role playing game, participants will play roles of 7 objects from the collection of Scythian gold that inspired the exhibition. At the start of the game, objects awake while being transported inside a box in a vehicle. They don’t know their destination, yet as rare objects which belonged to Scythian kings and noble men and women, they have some ancient powers to influence their route.
This event is an experimental way to discuss the notion of agency, heritage, and the sense of belonging through collective storytelling and co-creating an experience.
The play is designed and facilitated by artist and play designer Jana Romanova in the conversation with Natalia Grezina, Anton Yermolov and Marth von Loeben.
We will start with the character-building workshop during which everyone will get familiar with the setting, rules, and basics of role playing, while bringing life and personifying the objects we’ll be playing.
After the workshop, we will start the play which will last for about an hour.
When the play is over we’ll have a debriefing and a discussion on the player’s experiences and questions both the play and the exhibition rise.
25 August 2023
from 19:00 to 22:00
doors open from 18:30
number of participants: 7
26 August 2023
from 15:00 to 18:00
doors open from 14:30
number of participants: 7
Booking: 10.00 Euro including snacks & drinks
No prior experience in role playing is required
Trigger warning: the central part of the play will be happening in a small dark room where you will be sitting close to other people. If this may feel uncomfortable for you, consider not taking part in this event.
— What is live-action role-playing (larp)?
It is a bit tricky to give a clear definition as larp can take many shapes.
It would be more accurate to call larp “a play” rather than “a game” since in this experience there are no losing or winning conditions, just the joy of playing as if you were someone else — following mutually agreed upon rules.
It is very close to a theatrical experience, yet there are no spectators, and everyone present in the room are players who co-create a story with their actions.
There is often no script, but a starting point and a few rules. Everything else is improvisation by participants and sometimes some guidance from the game master.
— Can I take part if I’ve never done larping and am not very good at acting?
Yes, you can definitely take part. You don’t need any previous experience in larping as everything will be explained during the preparation time. And there is no need for any acting skills, as larp is much more about playing rather than performing.
— Can I just watch without taking part?
Unfortunately not. Larping is a lot about creating a safe space for being someone else and sometimes acting strange. For this reason, it is crucial that everyone present in the space is part of the “magic circle” and takes part. That is why it is not possible to be a spectator, only a full participant.
— Can I leave if I don’t feel comfortable?
We care a lot about physical and emotional safety, and there are rules for that. But if you don’t feel comfortable you can leave the space of the game at any moment.
— Do I need to bring something?
You don’t need to bring anything special, just things that may help you feel comfortable, if any. However, this larp will require you to sit on the (clean) floor, so you can dress accordingly.
— Will it be fun?
It may or may not be fun in terms of being funny and joyful. But most likely you’ll have fun playing, co-creating, storytelling, and discussing issues of agency and belonging.