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Participation

Pretend that it is real!

When a new participant entered one of the websites crafted for the game, he or she was warned of the fictional nature of the experience. The warning appeared for the first two times a participant logged in, then the fiction took over and the participant immersed in a fictional reality.

The pop up warning at Conspirare.se – Note: Translation – “Warning:  Conspirare  is  part  of  a  fictional creation.  Opinions  expressed  here  do  not  always  reflect  opinions of P or SVT. Random similarities with real people are sometimes pure coincidental. Participation is on your own risk and under your own  responsibility.  Conspirare  has  only  one  rule  –  pretend  that  it is  real.  You  participate  through  following  the  blog,  watching  the movie clips, and discussing in the forum. The search will lead you out  on  the  Internet  and  out  on  the  streets  of  your  own  city.  Click on OK to show that you have understood this.” (Denward and Waern, 2009, p.4)

The fact that the immersion in the fictional world was a primary element agreed between the participant of the ARG and that television viewers were not alerted of the fictional nature of the show, instead they were told that the debate was a live event, made the line between reality and fiction almost impossible to be seen.

According to Marie Denward and Annika Waern research findings publish in the article On the Edge of Reality: Reality Fiction in ‘Sanningen om Marika’, the fictional reality took so much over the reality that even internet users started finding difficult to separate reality from fiction.

Considering the fact that the survey was carried out among people that had previously enter one of the internet gates with the pop up warning, it can be assumed the awareness among those viewers that didn’t immerse in the internet experience to be very low.

Was such attitude correct when applied to Swedish National Television?

Britta Svensson, columnist of Swedish paper Expressen, in her October 29th, 2007 column, wrote ‟This “scandal” seems to be part of the drama in which SVT in a way that has never happened before trying to fool viewers by relaxing the boundary between fiction and reality. It’s completely idiotic. People disappear without a trace is a reality that news programs sometimes need to report on. To then pretend that it is true that SAPO (Swedish security service) silences the truth about the 20,000 missing Swedes is purely irresponsible.’’

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The truth About Marika lays its foundations in the Nordic larp (live action role playing) culture. Annika Waern and Marie Denward in their research ‘On the Edge of Reality: Reality Fiction in ‘Sanningen om Marika’’ report the following quote

“I am a larper and for me the Marika project is one huge larp. Everything screams larp, from aesthetics to issues you discuss” (participant-survey comment)

Here is a video of Martin Ericsson, former producer and creative director of The Company P, speaking at the Nordic Larp Talks

And here is an example of one of the biggest larp in Europe

Martin Ericsson, former producer and creative director of The Company P, gives a speech at Power to the Pixel 2009 talking about participation.

”Who has the power over the production of stimuli? In traditional audience culture has the artist producing stimuli. Interactive culture has very small difference, you still have an artist producing massive stimuli the only difference is that audiences choose the order in which they consume. In Participatory culture things change completely. The artist acts as an host, sets up the game space,produces some stimuli, but the real producer, the real artist in participatory culture is the audience it self”