A Psychogeography of Games #6: Llaura Borealis

This is the last of my 6 articles in the Psychogeography of Games series on RPS, drawn from a series of performance talks given at Videobrains in London. If you’d like to support my on-going games writing, and get a reward of a super cool zine of these collected writings plus images and extras, sign up on patreon.com/hannahnicklin. Thanks for reading. – Hannah

This is how it starts:
With the sea.

A child, small, dwarfed by the rocks and the waves, shrunk both by the scale of the Atlantic and the men that rough their hands on board fishing boats, across ropes and nets and salted cold burnt skin.

A child laughing.
Before the child is full of ideas of everything they aren’t that they should be.
Before then, there’s just the child,
And the sea.

As I write this, I’m sat in Holyhead station at 2:09am, 6 hours into my 14 hour journey back from Dublin, where I walked with Llaura from the pier at Dún Laoghaire (Dun Lere-ey) to the top of Three Rock Mountain, where you can see the whole of the bay.

We walk from the bay, from the pier at Dún Laoghaire to the top of Three Rock Mountain. When we get up to the mountain, there’s rain. Only a little, but from where we stand we can see it heavy down by the sea. Big and thick, a rainbow squats down over the city. The bay looks the same shape as it does on Google Maps, which somehow surprises me; like a little croissant curled up around the sea.

The child plays in the Atlantic. Not with the confidence of a swimmer, but with the whole-heartedness of someone willing to be afraid. The child is breath-knocked, pulled, pushed, swirled; gasps and salt-water eyes, clinging hair, the water and the child, alive.

Llaura is interested in immersing herself in the material of things: of finding ways to understand the materials she works with, working with and against that grain. She likes contrast. She’ll write an ending that might be considered the ‘right’ ending – like in her award winning game Curtain –...