#FBW Asheville & Waynesville 2022 #FBW Asheville & Waynesville 2022
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Being There (in-person) AVL


Brett McCall
Better Than Unicorns

About the speaker:

What happens when we find ourselves in an unbelievable situation, jaw wide open, with our senses on fire because we cannot fully understand what just happened? Half of us are going to shun it away and look for reasons not to participate. The other half will embrace this new river into our understanding of what this new reality means for all areas of our lives. Go down the rabbit hole with Brett on an exploration of the mind when we create multisensory virtual experiences. Join us for a workshop about the power of Presence. Through short exercises and discussion, you will walk away with spatial design skills that you can use immediately. Be prepared to get curious, vulnerable, and maybe even a little silly.

During this workshop, expect to experience more presence in your body, in this room, at this moment! What I’m looking to cultivate a conversation around is how the technology, games, and spaces we create enhance our connection and communication while creating a true sense of being there. And what does that actually do to our brains and our bodies? 
With an emphasis on embodiment and the content being a fluid curriculum that adapts to each space I find myself in, I will invite you to experience more of your presence to yourself, and everyone around you. But also, maybe most importantly, what is possible when we design for this possibility.

Explore the idea that Presence is one of our greatest tools in connecting people together, enhancing communication, and building empathy. Is our connection to another person just a feature added to the communication mediums we use?

Stories from Better Than Unicorns about how VR allows us to be together to experience some of the nuances we're currently missing in everyday culture because we're doing so much of our connection through the windows and portholes of our respective ships. We have been, and many still are, only achieving the sense of “being there” in limited ways. What are we missing each time we add a sense… from phone calls to text messages and from a video conference to virtual reality experiences. Each time we add a layer of perception we gain something, I argue what we gain is important to this current evolution we are firmly up against now! It doesn’t take much to see what happens without this depth of the experience that comes from shared space.
How do the games and spaces we create enhance our connection and communication… creating a true sense of being there? And what does that actually do to our brains and our bodies, our creativity and wonder?


Session description:

🐙👾 I navigate the world in ways that other people might call strange, or nonconformist, or even risky. 👽🤖 Through years of studying how other people meet their desires, I’ve found that my mind runs in patterns that are... different. It is easy for me to think of this as a handicap. But once I began to embrace what I call my “chaotic magical awareness,” I realized that my natural aptitude for wonder and play can benefit both individuals and organizations — simply by my ability to bring out “weirdo” qualities in others. 
This is why they call me: Abundance Magician✨. Chaos Weaver🌻. Muscle Mover💪🏽. Game Keeper🕹️.

Redesigning Communication
→ A lot of the problems that plague people and organizations are also crippling to me. For example, when I’m under stress I gravitate towards a results-focused approach (an attempt to control or predict outcomes) rather than remaining connected. In other words, I stop listening. 
Learning to recognize and manage this tendency in myself led me to a problem that many people believe is impossible to solve: How can one remain present while under stress? 
It can be done. Through wonder and play. 

The Play Solution
→ When I am with others, exploring the world from a lens of play, anything seems possible. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work that way all or even most of the time. We live in an age in which functionality and hard work are placed at such a premium that `work’ often becomes bad work, and functionality itself suffers. (This paradox is lost on much of the business world. Organizations and corporations are only slowly waking up to the idea that “functionality” may not always look like a person working on a spreadsheet.)
I realized long ago that almost anything that brings me back into the present moment will help return me to a creative and cooperative flow. A game🎱, hacky sack🦶🏼, throwing a disc🥏, making music🎹 — all of these are much more powerful tools than one might think. 
In addition to conventional play, for many years I have been using game design to solve “real-world” problems (be they individual, relational, societal, or environmental). My version of game design does not mean writing code. It means figuring out, preferably in a group, how to turn a problem into a puzzle, and then into a game. If this works, then overwhelment vanishes, and “players” (a.k.a people) are empowered enough to feel around the rough edges of a problem, perhaps for the first time. They’re on their way to making actual change. 

🎲I play every day, it keeps my brain from the numb.. join me in game as "sheepsknuckles".🎲 


🐙👾 I navigate the world in ways that other people might call strange, or nonconformist, or even risky. 👽🤖 Through years of studying how other people meet their desires, I’ve found that my mind runs in patterns that are... different. It is easy for me to think of this as a handicap. But once I began to embrace what I call my “chaotic magical awareness,” I realized that my natural aptitude for wonder and play can benefit both individuals and organizations — simply by my ability to bring out “weirdo” qualities in others. 
This is why they call me: Abundance Magician✨. Chaos Weaver🌻. Muscle Mover💪🏽. Game Keeper🕹️.

Redesigning Communication
→ A lot of the problems that plague people and organizations are also crippling to me. For example, when I’m under stress I gravitate towards a results-focused approach (an attempt to control or predict outcomes) rather than remaining connected. In other words, I stop listening. 
Learning to recognize and manage this tendency in myself led me to a problem that many people believe is impossible to solve: How can one remain present while under stress? 
It can be done. Through wonder and play. 

The Play Solution
→ When I am with others, exploring the world from a lens of play, anything seems possible. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work that way all or even most of the time. We live in an age in which functionality and hard work are placed at such a premium that `work’ often becomes bad work, and functionality itself suffers. (This paradox is lost on much of the business world. Organizations and corporations are only slowly waking up to the idea that “functionality” may not always look like a person working on a spreadsheet.)
I realized long ago that almost anything that brings me back into the present moment will help return me to a creative and cooperative flow. A game🎱, hacky sack🦶🏼, throwing a disc🥏, making music🎹 — all of these are much more powerful tools than one might think. 
In addition to conventional play, for many years I have been using game design to solve “real-world” problems (be they individual, relational, societal, or environmental). My version of game design does not mean writing code. It means figuring out, preferably in a group, how to turn a problem into a puzzle, and then into a game. If this works, then overwhelment vanishes, and “players” (a.k.a people) are empowered enough to feel around the rough edges of a problem, perhaps for the first time. They’re on their way to making actual change. 

🎲I play every day, it keeps my brain from the numb.. join me in-game as "sheepsknuckles".🎲 

All sessions are limited capacity, first come first serve. You can create an agenda within the event platform of sessions you want to attend but this does not guarantee you a seat at every session.