A few weeks ago, Sean, Lucy and I were invited by Tom K. Kemp to play After the Maestro, a prototype TTRPG he has been developing “set within an ‘anthropomorphised anatomy’.”
Players adopt the roles of groups of microbial and cellular workers during the aftermath of a successful labour emancipation within the inner body, where the ‘Maestro’, or centralised vital force of the body, has been removed. Each session of the game generates a new narrative of anatomical and social re-organisation, complicating and estranging common body-politic metaphors into a tale of emancipatory body-horror.
We each chose a different organ or organism to role-play and navigate through a body in crisis. Sean, in true Bataillean fashion, plays the Pineal Gland; Lucy plays Toxiplasma-gondii; Tom plays the heart; and I bring the tone down by playing as Spermatazoa. But in each instance we learned a great deal about what these particular parts of the body do, and what they could do if emancipated from predetermined roles.
You can listen to episode one above, and episode two below.
Recorded at Rupert Residency, LT, I was joined by Matt Colquhoun aka Xenogothic, and Lucy and Sean of the horror philosophy podcast Wyrd Signal and Deleuze and Guattari podcast Buddies Without Organs. Over these 2 episodes, Matt, Lucy and Sean and myself use the game to tell a semi-improvised story incorporating biological fact, phenomenology, political analogy and ‘the body without organs’. How might toxiplasmosis parasites articulate their desires? What responsibility does spermatazoa have to its origin body? What lies beneath the ruins of a stopped heart?