Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Ars Armandi experimentation

This Saturday I and some of the regulars (now including Fredrik von Post, back from China) experimented a bit with the Ars Armandi method (the actual description start at the bottom of page three). In short it is a way of simulating sexual contact in larps, that have been used on several Swedish art larps. You are only allowed to touch the the arms and the area from above the armpits to the earlobes. I have personally not attended any larps using it but Fredrik wanted to further develop what he had seen when participating in Moira.

We ended up doing both theoretical and more "hands on" experimentation, mostly on Ars Armandi as a non-diegetic method. Some of our concussions in short:

- The upper parts of the neck feels to erogenous for us to be included as a permitted body part. We quickly removed it and didn't have any problems. There are still enough areas to touch.

- When used non-diegetic, there is a need to correlate Ars Armandi touching to real world sexual activities. There are several ways to do this depending on how detailed you want to be, but having four different areas seemed to be appropriate. One hand up to the elbow is light caressing and kissing and the same with both hands is making out heavily. Touching up to the shoulders is more or less naked full body caressing. Finally, the lower neck and collar bone is penetrative sex, including oral sex. The point is not to have each caress mean a specific action but to know how far the session have gone on the "sexual scale". This way there will be less misunderstandings.

- We had some discussion on the risk of mistaking non-sexual touching for an Ars Armandi invitation, but in large agreed that you just have to take some care not touching in a way that could be misinterpreted.

- We talked about on how to combine a "real life" start of a seduction with Ars Armandi sex. In many cases it would be weird to not allow any kind of even just sexual suggestive touching. In these cases, when and how do you switch?

- We tried out different sexual situations, including domination. None of them turned out to be much of a problem.

- There could be a problem if your own sexuality is awakened during a Ars Armandi session and interfering with that of your characters. As the method is so different from ordinary sex but still very intense you could be drawn out of character by the physical responses of you body. I guess we have to see how much of a problem this is.

Hmmm.... I have probably forgotten something important but this is everything I remember right now. We did some video recordings but decided not to publish them as taken out of context they would look really weird. All in all it was both interesting and fun. More touching to the people, or at least the larpers!


Blogger Sven Holmström said...

I have seen the movies. Quite intense. It seemed successful and I'm quite sure that it could work for me in certain larps. But also, the feeling grew stronger that this wouldn't necessary be accepted in all relationships. I really feel I would have to have a discussion with my girl if I were going to use AA in a larp.

2:53 AM  
Anonymous Anna said...

How come Sven has seen the movies? I thought we said they would be private ;-).

Jonas you forgot about the orgasm-thing. We realised we needed some signal for the sexual climax, otherwise it was hard to no when to stop. So we fast blinked several times to symbolize orgasm, and it worked well.

11:38 AM  
Blogger Jonas Barkå said...

I agree that Ars Armandi is probably to intimate for both some players and some partners.

The question is if you can have an immersive technique for sex without it being unacceptable in some relationships.

The orgasm technique did indeed work very well.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Sven Holmström said...

" How come Sven has seen the movies? I thought we said they would be private ;-)."

Hey, it's me. Do I count as 'other'? Fredrik specifically said that he wouldn't show them to anyone else.

"The question is if you can have an immersive technique for sex without it being unacceptable in some relationships."

Right. It wasn't a critique, I just wanted to point that out, because I never heard anyone say that.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Jonas Barkå said...

"How come Sven has seen the movies? I thought we said they would be private ;-)."

We only agreed to not relese them on the internet. In fact, they will be released on DVD next month as a part of "Open Mind XXX Volume 13", including directors commentary.

Or not.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Fredrik v P said...

I'm not quite sure about the climax-thingy. It just doesn't feel right. Flicked through the latest number of Fëa and read Karin Tidbäcks presentation of the method.
"Arbeta inte för att få fram ett klimax. Det förstör hela syftet"
(I translate: Don't try to climax, it's not what the method is about)

5:28 PM  
Blogger Jonas Barkå said...

I do not get *why* it shouldn't be a part of the method. As a diegetic method you can of course skip it if you want but if you are to simulate real sex there has to be a possible climax, in the same way that there has to be a way to know how far the sexual situation went.

Does Karin give any answer to the why?

5:42 PM  
Blogger Jonas Barkå said...

There are additional discussion about this post on Vincent's blog Anyway:


3:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:21 AM  

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