"I'm not sure I felt this at the time, but in retrospect, I think my trip to Knudepunkt could be termed an elaborate larp built for one, a larp conducted in public without the knowledge of those around me, a pervasive game... " Stark, Leaving Mundania, p234
I'm left with the same feeling as Stark, without having yet so much as played a Nordic game or attended a conference: once you know what a larp can be, then everything starts to look like one.
Furthermore, there's a realisation that the psychological phenomena which larp explores and manipulates might just be the missing link between a whole bunch of artforms, technologies and philosophies. Perhaps it is the ubiquity of the toolset in use, namely the human imagination, that lends it this interstitial quality: conceived in reductionist terms, Nordic larp is simply imagination-as-play.
Where does experimental theatre end, and consensual indoctrination into a covert ideology begin? Can a temporary intentional community, in and of itself, be a form of performance art? Can a performance art piece become a political movement instead of just a statement? These questions pivot on the fluid dualities of fiction and reality, of reader and subject, which can be upended with a flick of the wrist or a twist of the frame; if we assume altermodernism to have accepted and integrated (if not fully approved of) the ubiquitous ontological hollowness of the postmodern condition, then might Nordic larp be one of the first truly altermodernist forms, an experimental laboratory for the breeding of new metanarratives?
Maybe, maybe not. But Nordic larp's brisk defrocking of essentialist identity politics, and its repeated demonstrations that convincing and compelling constructs of allegiance and collective identity can be assembled with surprisingly minimal effort, mark it out as a meta form. If a larp is a group of people playing certain roles in a certain imagined context toward some sort of goal, then larp itself — Nordic larp, the school, the movement — is a larp of larps, a metalarp; a game of games.
Larp has more obvious and more commercial cousins, of course. Alternate reality games use the same immersive world-overlaid-upon-world techniques, but the narrative is hierarchical, goal-orientated, and — ideally, at least for their creators — bounded by clear arcs of story which are defined before the game even begins; cosplay is busily turning dressing up and acting out as fictional characters into an acceptable (and in some cases praiseworthy) pastime for those over the age of eight; MMOs like World Of Warcraft have made the essence of the boffer larp experience less exhausting, weather-proof and post-geographical — play when you like, for as long as you like, with fellow players from anywhere in the world.