Nylon Borders

Nylon Borders – L.A.R.P.
Two-day workshop by Trojan Horse at Luonnos project space, Helsinki
Tuesday November 22, and Thursday November 24, 2022 17-20

REGISTER HERE: https://forms.gle/LegAy2LFdrRNEQdFA


Nylon Borders is a Live Action Role-Play (L.A.R.P.) exploring questions related to socio-economic class and identity in the field of design. Through asking and addressing questions related to everyday struggles and inherent positions of power, the Nylon Borders L.A.R.P. explores how inequality is produced and reinforced in education, media and everyday work of designers.

As a process the L.A.R.P. frames an possibility for design practitioners to critically explore identity and power from a creative and safe place of suspension and play. Practicing the suspension of the determined or judging self, allows us to listen to others, and better unfold the knowledge within the group. 

Within the discourse of design, we question what kind of knowledge is accepted, and whose voices are properly heard. We understand that the possibility to define how a more desirable future reality should look like, must be filtered through an intersectional lens of personal awareness of privilege and power. The L.A.R.P. aims to explore how life experiences – as existential and material vulnerabilities – can be better taken into an account in design culture and education.

Nylon Borders L.A.R.P. consists of two intensive workshop days that make space for researching, writing and playing, as well as documenting the process and debriefing collectively what happened.

Workshop 1 – Tuesday November 22, 17:00–20:00
– Introduction to Live Action Role-Play
– Discussing the background reading
– World-building through creating characters and framing the history and back-story of the L.A.R.P.

Workshop 2 – Thursday November 24, 17:00–20:00
– NYLON borders L.A.R.P.
– Debriefing the L.A.R.P.
– Reviewing the collectively produced documentation (notes, texts, drawings and photos.)


Nylon Borders L.A.R.P. is a continuation of Trojan Horse collective’s research on role-playing as a research tool. We have previously organized two significant role-plays Nörttimuotoilusymposium in 2017 and Foreign Affects and in 2018. In 2019 Kaisa, Ott and Tommi edited, wrote and designed the book ‘Borrowing Positions – Role-playing Design and Architecture’ in which role-playing is framed as a research tool for design and architecture. The motivation behind these initiatives was to see if L.A.R.P. could function as a method and experimental platform for testing out ideas designers and architects are not brave enough (or able) to voice in daily practice. We asked: Could it be possible to participate in discussions openly and without the fear of ridicule and failure? Who or what shapes the roles of designers and architects in a contemporary society? How can we illuminate the power structures and responsibility behind taking, building or defining roles as designers and architects? How flexible are these roles?

Foreign Affects

Trojan Horse, Foreign Affects - Live Action Role-Play - background image

Foreign Affects was the second Trojan Horse live action role-play. This time we wrote a fictional scenario that dealt with various questions related fear. In the fictional story of the role-play a group of designers went to a foreign planet. The fictional designers, played by us and other participants, looked at fear as an active form constructing situations and subject positions, and also design objects, services and cities.

Inside the fictional story we asked questions like: what is fear? Can fear be seen as an active form? What role does fear play in the design field? What kinds of affects does fear have for a design practise? Can we understand fear? Can fear, or fear related structures, be used as tools by designers and architects?

In order to see things in critical light, we borrowed Bertolt Brecht’s methods that aim to produce distance and estrangement. After the actual play we had theoretical reflections that gave us tools and vocabulary to understand role-playing more clearly as a tool, but also how fear in general can become virtual and have much broader effects on our societies and our ways to work as designers and architects do.


Nörttimuotoilusymposium (The Nerdy Design Symposium)

Trojan Horse Live Action Role-Play Nörttimuotolusymposium / Nerdy Design Symposium Background Image

Nörttimuotoiusymposium (The Nerdy Design Symposium) was our first live action Role-Play. It was about the future, about design fiction, and about utopian and dystopian design thinking, argumentation skills and interplanetary friendships.

The Role-Play took place in a ferry boat between Helsinki and Stockholm, or in our case, in a giant space ferry traveling between two distant planets. We organized a fictional design seminar “Nörttimuotoilusymposium” at the conference space of the space ferry. In the seminar each character gave a lecture from their perspective and about things they found meaningful, such as the colour blue, human computation or tribe of triangle hats. The larp also included a guided walk on the alien planet with a local guide.