May 10, 2019 @ 6:30 pm – May 12, 2019 @ 5:00 pm
Dublin Castle, Conference Centre

Mark Durkan, in partnership with Dublin Castle, invites participants to respond to the unique complex of Dublin Castle and to Dublin’s motto: An Obedient Citizenry Produces a Happy City.

An Obedient Citizenry Produces a Happy City

Friday 10th May 6.30pm – 10.30pm: Nilas Dumstrei – Transmutation / Saturday 11th May, 3pm – 7pm: Susan Ploetz & Francis Patrick Brady – Katabasis / Sunday 12th May, 1pm – 5pm: Nina Runa Essendrop – Human Experience

Free by booking only: To attend one or all of the events, please email markdurkan@gmail.com. Updates can be found on the facebook event page

The meeting point for all larps will be at the Conference Centre in Dublin Castle’s main yard (southwestern corner). Please look for the signs: “An Obedient Citizenry Produces a Happy City”.

An Obedient Citizenry Produces a Happy City

Culminating a period of research, Mark Durkan, in partnership with Dublin Castle, invites artists of UNION to respond to the unique complex of Dublin Castle and to Dublin’s motto: An Obedient Citizenry Produces a Happy City. Utilising live action roleplay (larp) methodologies, Nilas Dumstrei, Susan Ploetz & Francis Patrick Brady and Nina Runa Essendrop will explore how certain social practices can disrupt intransigent cognitive frames and circumvent expanded structures of power, whilst simultaneously focusing on the value of personal stories as a means of inscribing oneself into a unique territory and moment in time.

Each artist or artist group will deliver a larp (see below for details) within a specific territory in Dublin Castle. Larps are co-created experiences where participants roleplay characters and interact with each other to share a fictional narrative. Each larp will last 3 to 4 hours and will comprise of a workshop phase, a live play phase and a concluding debrief. No experience of larp is necessary to take part. Please dress in clothes you are comfortable to move around in. It is free to attend all of the larps but places are extremely limited. Please arrive at least 15mins before starting time, as the larps will start strictly on time and it will not be possible to join once the larp has begun. To attend one or all of the events, please see the schedule below and email markdurkan@gmail.com to confirm your attendance. Updates can be found on the facebook event page

Dublin’s quietly official motto: Obedientia Civium Urbis Felicitas (An obedient citizenry produces a happy city) raises many questions. What is the role of the citizen? What does it mean to be obedient? What is a happy city? The aim of this project is to explore concepts of citizenship and alibi through site-specific embodied research, focusing on the psychology of space in and around Dublin Castle. Enmeshed with legal, administrative, cultural, military and policing apparatuses, both historical and contemporary, the architecture of the Dublin Castle complex is a repository of signifiers for an evolving city identity. Looking at the changing landscape of Irish political participation and its relationship to space, exemplified by recent referenda and the use of the Castle Courtyard as a space of celebration, this project aims to explore concepts of obedience and disobedience in relation to the idea of alibi and citizenry and consider the role of cultural and social practices within the construction, identification, and critique of shared territories.

Friday 10th May, 6.30pm – 10.30pm

Nilas Dumstrei presents Transmutation in the Conference Centre in Dublin Castle. Transmutation  is a live action roleplay about personal relationships with language as possession and the complexity inherent in language as possession.

Words materialise into a fluid mass. It runs out and fills the empty space with an invisible texture. In a fragmented state of personality, you navigate through a thickened web of logos-barriers. Your distance to the others increases ever so, but in the material, a sensation lays a bridge between you and the body mass of the other. Your tongue is twisting, and your present is flickering in front of your eyes. A senses landscape, somewhere beyond your control.

In Transmutation we partake in the co-creation of meaning and collectivity through movement and playfulness, towards building a shared landscape of uncertainty and sensitivity. Words make our universe bend.

Saturday 11th May, 3pm – 7pm

Susan Ploetz & Francis Patrick Brady presents Katabasis in the Medieval Undercroft in Dublin Castle. Katabasis is a larp about cave descents, origin myths and group archetypes designed by Una Hamilton Helle, Susan Ploetz and Francis Patrick Brady.

Generations ago our people fled into a vast system of caves to create a new world. The Myth tells how we started as a whole, but after the Great Divide we were separated. There are stories about the others, still out there, but we haven’t encountered them. As we descend further into the vast network of caverns, we feel the presence and traces of the mythical others as they appear to us as symbols, detritus and echoes in the dark.

Katabasis is a flexible structure for those who want to think about the formation of societies and culture, as well as communication and the negotiation of differences. It is a larp that explores these themes through physical storytelling, symbol creation, telepathy and ritualised movement and sound.

Sunday 12th May, 1pm – 5pm

Nina Runa Essendrop presents Human Experience in the Chapel Royal in Dublin Castle. Human Experience, by Nina Runa Essendrop, is a physical, immersive larp about the sensations we get from movements, touch and senses. The players play Ancient Consciousnesses who, for a brief period, get to experience life through a human body.

The Ancient Conciousnesses are gentle, slow and curious. They don’t understand rational logic but experience the world through poetic images and abstract sensations. Having a human body is new and overwhelming to them. In their short time as embodied creatures, they want to carefully experience the nuances in the way humans move and sense and to try to understand what it is like to be human and experience through a body.

Human Experience is played with an audience, who are part of the fiction of the larp. They are there to experiment with movements and senses and to follow and aid the Ancient Conciousnesses in their exploration.


Initiated in the winter of 2018, UNION is an emergent, decentralised network situated at the intersections of art, experience design and larp. UNION utilises interaction design and sociality as artistic, cultural, educational and poltical tools to build worlds and social spaces to live and work in. UNION has delivered artist residencies, larps, exhibitions, workshops and educational projects with the Athens School of Fine Art, PLX in Malmö, Knudepunkt conference, and Rollespilsfabrikken in Copenhagen, and has upcoming projects in Berlin, Copenhagen, Dublin, Malmö, and Minsk. UNION members present in Dublin for this event include Mark Durkan, Eilis McDonald, Susan Ploetz, Nina Runa Essendrop, Francis Patrick Brady, Nilas Dumstrei.

Mark Durkan is an artist with a mobile practice that traverses Europe. His work involves creating temporary active communities that are collaborative and context led. Drawing from socially performed reality-building events like mid-century psychodrama, nordic live action roleplay and 21st century crisis simulation, Durkan’s current work explores the experiential potential of co-created fictional realities. Engaging with the architectural presence of a space and the people that embody it, he transposes identity with alibi to explore a joint idiom of value and threat. Mark Durkan has led projects and exhibited extensively, including in Project Arts Centre, Kevin Kavanagh, Dublin Castle and the City Gallery Hugh Lane in Dublin, ZhdK in Zurich, Zair Azgur Museum in Minsk, The Museum of Moving Image in New York, Via Farini in Milan, 3331 Arts Chiyoda in Tokyo and German Chancellery in Berlin.

Susan Ploetz (US/DE) is an artist-researcher working with somatics, theory, writing, performance and live action roleplays in different configurations. Her work deals with the overlapping spaces of soma and technos; she uses imagination, magical materiality and protocol to induce emancipatory emotive dissonances and perceptual expansion. She has presented work at the Berlin Festspiele/Martin Gropius Bau, Sophiensaele, ABC Art Fair, Rupert, Documenta 13, and she has been a guest artist/teacher, lectured or given workshops at Universität der Kunst (Berlin), The Dutch Art Institute, The DAAD, The Pervasive Media Studio (Bristol), and SUNY Buffalo. She recently contributed to Death of the Artist published by Cabinet Magazine and will produce a project in Tokyo using larp to explore AI, robotics and the generation of online language through the Aoyama Gakuin University in November 2019.

Francis Patrick Brady is an artist, curator and pedagogue who creates artistic games that question the accepted realities of social and cultural norms, building scenarios that establish crossovers between fantasy and fiction. Using installation, sculpture, spoken word, and speculative play as artistic materials to incite dialogue between abstract and practical social and political groups. He has recently presented work at InterArtsCentre (SE), ALT-CPH (DK), SIGNAL (SE), Moderna Museet (SE), PLX (SE), SØ gallery (DK), Delfi (SE), TURF projects (UK), Turner Contemporary (UK), Cafe Oto (UK), ADULT (DK); as well as teaching at Royal College of Arts (UK), Bristol UWE spike island (UK), Newcastle BALTIC 39 (UK), Krabbesholm Art school (DK). He is a visiting practitioner and lecturer who has held a position at Chelsea College of Arts (UAL) London for the last 9 years. He is also currently in Residence at InterArtsCentre Malmö.

Nina Runa Essendrop is a Danish artist and larp designer with a master’s degree in Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies. She has a strong focus on movement, sensory experiences and the meaning of physical action. Nina has been an active player in the Nordic Larp community for over two decades. She has designed and produced blackbox larps, freeform games, large-scale larps, audience inclusive larps and larp festivals and she has collaborated with artists in both Europe and the US. She has extensive experience designing and running workshops, larps, performances and interactive theatre pieces in many diverse contexts, including Transmediale 2016 (Berlin, Germany), Momentum: The 8th Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art (Moss, Norway), Athens Biennale 2018 (Athens, Greece), The Flea Theatre (New York, US), Dome of Visions (Arhus, Denmark) and Ormston House (Limerick, Ireland).

Nilas Dumstrei is based in Cph, Denmark. In an ongoing process he looks at textural and material notions of participation and how that relates to a sense of connected psychology as experienced in our everyday behaviour. He reflects a sculptural investigation through a collaborative art based practice that incorporates live action roleplay. Nilas engages an audience as both an author and performer and explores how temporary space can embody the formation and expression of imaginary states of being. Nilas has delivered work in many diverse contexts, recent projects include participatory and collaborative experiences at numerous festivals, such as Black Box Copenhagen and The Smoke and he has showcased his work in venues throughout the nordic art scene, recently delivering work as part of Dome of Visions and Art Week Cph.

We wish to acknowledge the support of the Arts Council and the Office of Public Works in making this project possible. This project was funded under the Engaging with Architecture Scheme.