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Lost Eons: Land of Iron by David Blandy

A fictional map of Northamptonshire, with 'Minor Sea' to the right. Around it, there are light and dark green plains, divided into areas. the town of Northampton is orange and is close to the lake. A lot of small trees representing forest areas scattered around the map. The image is a digital drawing, the colour are flat.

Lost Eons: Land of Iron is a role-playing game imagining Northamptonshire in 8000 years, developed by David Blandy and local residents, and commissioned by NN Contemporary Art.

About the project

Lost Eons: Land of Iron is an interactive tabletop role-playing game exploring the future of Northamptonshire. The project employs gaming methodologies to engage audiences in a speculative design thinking exercise, to develop feedback and creative consultation across this moment of radical change for the town, with the forthcoming opening of 24 Guildhall Road.

Blandy’s practice uses video games, role-playing strategies, film and installation. In doing so, he often works with communities that surround each of these forms to critically examine culture and how it shapes identities. Through his diverse work, he explores the potential of world-building for creating new communities and critically interpreting the environment around us.

The artist and selected participants created a table-top roleplay game. Through a game jam over several weeks, they collaboratively drew, wrote, used Discord and took part in active play sessions to develop a setting that reflects a vision of Northampton in the distant future. Design fantasies played out from the collation of collective and individual experiences, creating alternative communities and a widely different Northampton from the one that we experience today. The participants worked collaboratively to create a future world, devising creatures and characters based on the macro life of the area and seeking inspiration from the history of Northampton. A fictional landscape of portals and possibilities emerges across asset mapping and niche local knowledge. A gaming logic pushes the boundaries of presumed environments and infrastructures towards an uncanny arena that challenges the status quo and, resultantly, champions positive changes in the real world. A futuristic vision of the role of NN Contemporary Art contributes to an artist-led consultation fed into wider town regeneration agendas.

Lost Eons: Land of Iron engages residents as co-producers and facilitates community-building. Using art, design and gaming logic, the players critically and speculatively evaluate the urban and rural environments in Northamptonshire through the lens of climate change, historical multi-narratives, representation, heritage and community-building.

The game was published as a PDF publication available to download from the Library Stack NN Contemporary Art branch, online library.

Lost Eons: Land of Iron was commissioned by NN Contemporary Art, Northampton.

This production is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Participating artists and creatives

S. J. Smith, Oliver Longden, Nine Foster, Morgan King, Dave Saunders, Darren Hutchins, Alison Goodyear, Sophie Bellamy, George Hancock, Simon Frost and Bekah Frost

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