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BigSTORY Conference in LA

Material story lab founder, Anete M. Camille Strand was part of organizing this year’s conference within the international Quantum Storytelling Network: the BigSTORY conference in LA in Dec. 17th-19th.

For the first time the academic conference decided to let business meet quantum storytelling. A very different format for a conference was developed for the purpose, and it was captured by the headline: ’Pulling stories out of fire’. A headline that would pinpoint the importance of making room for the emergent in storytelling as opposed to the usual preplanned structure. A scenography for the event was developed that mastered the balance between enough structure for sufficient orientation points for the participants to maneuver and enough openness to invite the unforeseen to disrupt prefabricated expectations. Within Quantum Storytelling ‘living story’ (Boje, 1991) is a significant source of inspiration to conceptualize the unforeseen story emergence. Living story - in turn - is hugely inspired by the Tamara Play: The longest running play ever in LA; 9 years from 1984.

Out of the combined inspirations came two significant elements that strauctured the 1 day of the conference that was open for business to attend. In both cases Material Story lab contributed directly: a workshop with object theatre - a specially designed sandbox-table and a large selection of hand-picked figurines which all of the 100 conference participants were involved in putting into play for ‘pulling stories out of earth’. Anete Strand and LA-gangster gardener, Ron Finley introduced the theme and closed the workshop by pulling stories out of the configuration that had emerged from the conference participants having placed their chosen artifacts in the sandbox.

Later this was followed by an immersive theatre happening with improve-actors which together with the audience enacted a ’live’ organizational scenario in the showroom of Steelcase on 32nd floor in Downtown, LA.

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