Liquid Dependencies: what does a decentralized caring society look like? (2021 – present) is a role-playing game for 10 players in which they build long-term, mutual, caring relationships. In the course of the game, the players will be assigned characters which they need to bring alive with their own experiences. Over the course of 4 to 5 hours, the players will “spend” 20 to 30 years of life together and cope with a series of personal and social events. What kind of society will these players eventually create?
Liquid Dependencies is part of the long-standing ReUnion Network project (since 2017), which researches caring relationships as the basis of a sustainable society, and how care can function as a social currency with a deliberate socio-economic system design. The game is a gamified version of the project, functioning both as a life simulation and a social experiment. It was first launched at the 13th Shanghai Biennale in collaboration with the Dinghaiqiao Mutual-aid Society, and later on in Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig with the artist collective Elli Kuruş. So far, the game has had over 30 sessions in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Helsinki, Eindhoven, Leipzig and now Amsterdam, in which more than 300 people have experienced alternative futures and taken thoughts and experience from the game into their real life.
Liquid Dependencies Theory is an interdisciplinary collective dedicated to exploring the gray zone between socially-engaged art and social innovation. It is founded by artist and design theorist YIN Aiwen, writer and academia Zoe ZHAO, and educator and community practitioner Yiren ZHAO. Their collaboration began with the LARP game “Liquid Dependencies: What does a decentralized caring society look like?”, and subsequently extends into a hybrid practice that leverages the power of art, technology and social innovation. Their practices depart from the current reality, attempting to use technology as a medium to bring people together for a common-oriented, sustainable society.
The Teams of Liquid Dependencies & ReUnion Network involves local researchers/collaborators (Elli Kuruş in GE version, Inge Hoote and Petra van der Kooij in the NL version, Trojan Horse in FI versions, etc.), active leading host members, active contributors of ReUnion Network (Genevive Costello), active team members across the two projects (Shiyue Wang, Anouk Asselineau) , and more people in the foreseeable future.
Host Community is made of the advanced players in the game: the assigned characters that collaborate to create a believable fictional society, guiding the players into it and assisting players with services. Because hosts have shared decades of in-game life, intense course work, and experiences of collaborative facilitation, hosts tend to become an intimate yet open community in the after-game hours. This community is generally referred to as the host community. The cultivation of local host communities thus supports the learning and growth process of hosts all over (community-based mutual learning) and serves as a preview of the mutual caring society supported by Liquid Dependencies and ReUnion Network at large. In the project ‘Commoning Liquid Dependencies’, the host communities from each locale will gather their own data, discuss their experiences and working together and give input to the database.