“Unsurprisingly, vampire role-play is one of the most popular forms of role-play,” says Elvia Wilk, speaking on the embodied fantasies of LARP-ing at London’s The Yard on February 16. “Because of the repetitive and familiar form of the conversion narrative, [culminating] in the climax of the bite, playing vampire allows infinite variations on erotic games of control.”
Giving a talk at AQNB’s recent Paranormal Storytime, the New York-based writer and critic recounted her own experience of these performative events, where participants physically portray fictional characters. Wilk discussed the pervasive myth of the vampire and the culture of the bite in the Hackney Wick theatre space, responding to the titular theme of the event, curated by AQNB associate editor Jared Davis.
Paranormal Storytime drew together a variety of practices examining resurgent interest in the gothic, horror and the uncanny in the digital age. The event asked what role technology plays in all of this, and as Davis noted in an interview for TANK Magazine, “there’s been a huge amount of cultural change with social media and the Internet, and with the unknowns that come with it, there’s a bit of a desire to express our anxieties through well worn cultural tropes and age old explanations.”
Following on from Wilk’s talk, the fetishistic gothic pantomime of Tianzhuo Chen’s video ‘LASCIA‘ was screened, along with the eerie digital landscapes of Wang Newone’s ‘HIVE-10468723…‘ Closing out the evening, Cologne-via-Washington D.C. producer Swan Meat performed a visceral live set of nightmare rave, with cyberpunk tinged sounds drawn from her recently released EP on Infinite Machine FLESHWORLD.
Watch the video or listen to audio of Elvia Wilk’s talk above, and scroll up for photo documentation.**
Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.