Life Under Occupation: The Halat Hisar Book

Life Under Occupation: The Halat Hisar Book

Documentation of larp is an important form to share knowledge and experience about the games being run. Life Under Occupation is a book documenting the larp Halat Hisar (2013) and it was just released in digital format. We caught up the books editor Juhana Pettersson, who also was one of the larps main organizers, to ask some questions.

Juhana Pettersson, photo by Mika Kettunen.

Juhana Pettersson, photo by Mika Kettunen.

Can you tell us about Halat Hisar?

Halat hisar was a Palestinian-Finnish larp played in Finland in 2013. Its aim was to bring together Palestinian and Nordic larpers, increase awareness of issues in Palestine and create a game where the situation in occupied Palestine was recreated in an alternate reality context as occupied Finland.

How did the book project come about?

Halat hisar was always a twofold project: we wanted to make a larp, but we didn’t want to limit it to the people who participated. For us, it was important to talk about the larp and the issues it dealt with to a wider audience. We did media outreach to achieve this, but also wanted to document the game for people who wanted to learn more.

Have you worked with any other kind of documentation besides the book?

All of the documentation builds on the work done during the game by our two great photographers, Tuomas Puikkonen and Katri Lassila. Our aim was to document as much as we could, and then work that material into two publications: the book, and a forthcoming short documentary film.

Halat hisar, photo by Tuomas Puikkonen.What is the structure of the book and documentary, what did you decide to document?

The documentary is still in the works, but will focus on player experiences and issues raised by the game. The book largely follows the structure of the game, starting with the core background and ideas it followed and then going into the actual events. Like many larp documentation efforts, some of the material came to be because of active editorial effort, and some was more about collecting existing stuff.

Anything else we should know?

A personal reason for making this book was all the great stuff that different people had made for the game. I wanted to see these things collected and maybe appreciated by new audiences. For example, the wonderful world material by Kaisa Kangas, the game design by Mohamad Rabah, Fatima AbdulKarim and Riad Mustafa or the photos by Tuomas Puikkonen. Some of the articles have been reworked by the authors from things originally written to debrief the game on social media.

The book is available for download over at its website:

Halat hisar was run in 2013 and you can read more about it at the Nordic Larp Wiki:

All photos in the article including the cover photo are taken by Tuomas Puikkonen unless otherwise noted.

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Johannes Axner is a Swede who loves to play and design larps, build community and blow things up. Creator and Editor in Chief of