Protection Song

Screenshot from A MAZE. 2020 Festival

Near the beginning of the pandemic, as the world shut down, the hospitals overflowed, and the United States erupted in renewed calls for racial justice, I was asked to submit a session proposal to the 9th annual A.MAZE festival program.  I’d recently workshopped a concept for collective, communal calming of the nervous system through group chanting, and decided to expand that prototype into the digital space. I was determined to bring my newfound understanding of the parasympathetic nervous system into an online-mediated collective experience, a shared ritual across continents and time zones.  Protection Song was born.

Protection Song is a game-mediated experiential ritual created to let participants engage with, and learn about, the Vagus nerve and the role it plays in mammalian emotional health.

Following along with either a spoken recitation, or an on-screen narrative in Twine, participants may quietly and safely put attention on their body’s internal sensations through a short interactive story which illuminates the developmental origins of mammalian fight/flight/freeze responses.

Protection Song was performed twice in 2020, first at A MAZE., then at Friendship Garden’s September Healing Summit.  If you’d be interested in running this 30 minute experience at your own event, please get in touch!

Image (top): Reconstruction of Eomaia eating stick insect Cretophasmomima Melanogramma, by S. Fernandez CC BY 2.5

Image (bottom): Image reconstruction of Huaxiagnathus orientalis, by Nobu Tamura

(You Construct Intricate Rituals)

One strand of my research work is an exploration of Somatics (the study of the subjective felt sense of the body) in game design. My February 2017 talk at Screenshake in Antwerp Belgium is an introduction and exploration of this subject, and included a live AcroYoga demonstration as a way to explore a playful somati pratice and think about its applicability to rule-based game design.