July 2021

Rilla Khaled and Francis Patrick Brady: The Congress of Future Love & Connection

Blend&Bleed: On Transreality and Pervasive Play

This workshop with Rilla Khaled and Francis Patrick Brady led participants through two different, complementary explorations of possible futures framed by the worlding of a fictional conference: “The Futurological Congress of Future Love & Connection.”

In a LARP led by Brady and based on a satirical science-fiction novel by Stanislaw Lem and the card game DOHL (Divergent Organisation for Hierarchical Labour), each participant was assigned a new career as academic at a giant conference seeking radical solutions to solve the world’s problems, as riots and disasters encroached on and spilled into the conference hall.

Khaled introduced a design process for speculative play, which envisioned the future of dating in a world in which most of our data is captured, centralized, and redistributed. Participants began by brainstorming in groups about personal experiences and contemporary cultural norms in order to engage in an ideation process that involved science-fiction writing and world-building.

Dr. Rilla Khaled is an associate professor in the Department of Design and Computation Arts at Concordia University in Montreal, where she teaches interaction design, serious game design, and programming, among other subjects. She is the director of the Technoculture, Art, and Games (TAG) Research Centre at the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture, and Technology, Canada’s most well-established games research lab. Dr. Khaled’s research is focused on the use of interactive technologies to improve the human condition, a career-long passion that has led to diverse outcomes, including designing award-winning serious games, creating speculative prototypes of near-future technologies, developing a framework for game design specifically aimed at reflective outcomes, and working with Indigenous communities to use contemporary technologies to imagine new, inclusive futures.

Francis Patrick Brady is an artist, lecturer, and curator living and working in Malmö, Copenhagen, and London. He uses play and participation as strategies for creating installations, performances, and workshops that involve handmade objects, sewn fabrics, cards, soundscapes, text, and collage. Often these artworks resemble the shape of a game, though they act to explore the everyday practices of world-building in contemporary society between creating fantasy and maintaining reality.

He is currently in residence at InterArtsCentre (Malmö) and has presented projects recently at ALT-CPH (Copenhagen), SIGNAL (Malmö), Moderna Museet (Malmö), PLX (Malmö), SØ gallery (Copenhagen), Delfi (Malmö), TURF projects (Croydon, England), Turner Contemporary (Margate, England), and Vermilion Sands (Copenhagen). He has projects upcoming at Roskilde Museet for Samtidskunst (Roskilde, Denmark) and Copenhagen Contemporary.

He is cofounder and curator at Celsius Projects gallery in Malmö and co-organizer of the art collective Union Group, which focuses on role-play, virtual reality, consent safety, and immersive practices. He is associate lecturer at Chelsea College of Art at University of London and regularly teaches workshops at other art universities and institutions.


00:03:55: LARP led by Francis Patrick Brady
01:42:00: Design workshop of speculative play by Rilla Khaled
02:14:34: Debrief and conversation

Preview image: Francis Patrick Brady, The Futurological Congress LARP, 2014. Speculative fiction game and handmade props.

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