The premiere exhibition at Babycastles Gallery, Assalamualaikum Babycastles is an exploration of the “lived Muslim experience” through the embedded narratives of independent, contemporary video games. These stories capture the various threads of Muslim life throughout the world and deal with subjects such as surveillance, war, and classical Muslim art. The games give visitors the agency to partake in these experiences inside Babycastles Gallery, where an immersive, physical installation inspired by Islamic aesthetics and created by contemporary artists houses the work. In addition to independent game developers, Assalamualaikum Babycastles will also feature work from “modders” who appropriate existing, western-based video games and visually fashion them into experiences that reflect their own.
SOMETIMES WE EXPLODE An Exhibition of Underground NYC Through Video Games and Hip Hop
SOMETIMES WE EXPLODE is special preview exhibition of video games in collaboration with XL Recordings at the site of the upcoming Babycastles Gallery. These video games are works of independent creative expression by individual artists or by small teams, and they reflect the realities, fantasies, and curiosities of different populations that share, co-exist, and conflict within New York City.
♛ ♛ ♛ ARTISTS & GAMES ♛ ♛ ♛
SUYIN LOOUI and LADYKILLAS (NYC) "Hey Baby", "a fictional [New York] where women could freely roam the streets without consequence."
SHAWN ALLEN and NUCHALLENGER (NYC) ”Treachery in Beatdown City”, an independent game set in New York City by artists of color who were born, raised, and live in New York.
JOE KOWALSKI recently of DOUBLE FINE (NYC) ”Third Rail”, a multiplayer game that lets you redesign the New York City subway system
DAVE GILBERT and WADJET EYE (NYC) ”Shivah”, an adventure featuring a New York City rabbi exploring the nature of morality and corruption in religious institution.
NATE HILL (NYC) ”Race Warriors”, A video game hack by Harlem performance artist Nate Hill that delivers a customized race war scenario for each user
THECATAMITES (IRELAND) ”Crime Zone”, a post-structuralist adventure in which you are every police officer.
On top of all the other things we have going on next week, we’ll also be hosting another installment of our Indie Tech Talk series at NYU’s Game Innovation Lab. This month’s talk will feature Double Fine’s Senior Gameplay Programmer Anna Kipnis, who will give a broad overview of how dialog gets into a Double Fine game, from the moment a line is written, to hearing and seeing the line in the engine, even in a foreign tongue, and what tech is required to make it all happen. There’s a facebook event with more info, and you can use that to RSVP as well!
We are planning on hosting three events in our brand new BABYCASTLES GALLERY, with the opening on April 8th featuring a special performance from RATKING themselves.
Then on Saturday, April 12th we are very excited to be collaborating with our friends at Different Games by hosting their after party! You will have to be registered as a Different Games attendee in order to gain admission to the party, which we strongly recommend you do. On a personal note, Different Games was one of my favourite events of last year and I (EMi) strongly recommend you attend both Different Games and our after party that follows.
If you were at the Indie Tech Talk you already know this, but we wanted to wait until after everyone was home from GDC to make a big official announcement. Well here it goes…. WE OFFICIALLY HAVE A LOCATION FOR THE BABYCASTLES GALLERY!! We’re incredibly excited about what this means for our future and we already have some pretty amazing plans for what we’d like to do with the space. So be on the look out, we’re going to have a lot of great announcements coming soon.
We of course couldn’t have made it to this point without the support of our Babycastles Gallery Members, so thank you to everyone who has already joined! On that note though, we’re going to have some news soon that our Members will gain priority access to due to extremely limited availability. That’s all we can say for now, so if you’ve been on the fence about joining now is a very good time to take the leap and officially join our Membership program.
These are pretty wild times for us. Thank you for all your support so far!
We’re excited to announce a month-long pop-up arcade at the Ace Hotel!
The Armory Show partnered with the Ace Hotel to put together a free, open to the public installation and we are so excited to have been invited to be a part of this. The exhibit is called Art Video Games in China and was curated by our friend Brian Ma. We’ll be bringing our arcade cabinets of course, and maybe some other stuff too?? We’ll definitely keep you updated in the time leading up to the show.
Dates: March 6-31 2014
Location: The Gallery at Ace Hotel New York, 20 W 29th Street, New York NY 10001
Thank you to all our friends who came to see us at IndieCade last week! We are very grateful to those of you who hung out with us at our zine library, came to see Syed and Kunal give their talk, or both! We know not all of you were able to make it though, which is why we wanted to share this video of Syed and Kunal’s hour-long talk with IndieCade East co-chair Kevin Cancienne. Thank you so much to the IndieCade team for recording it for us! Kevin put together a really great slideshow of photos from some of our events, and it was really cool to relive some of these moments in image form. We hope you’ll enjoy it too!
IndieCade also stopped by the Zine Library and did a quick interview with Ben and I while we held down the fort. The Library’s curator Robin got interviewed by another group, and once that interview goes up I’ll post that here too.
We’ve been hinting at some upcoming events and news recently, and we’ll have more info about that coming soon. Let’s stay in touch on Twitter and via our mailing list!
A lot of the Babycastles team got really busy after PARTY ON THE 19TH!, and I was no exception. We all did a lot of traveling for the holiday season and beyond, but we’re all settling down now and getting back into our routines. We have a lot of things we want to say to all of you, so get ready for lots of new information in this new year!
But first, we wanted to give you a heads up about our first Indie Tech Talk of the year. This week Eddo Stern will be coming to the Game Innovation Lab at NYU Poly to talk about his working process behind his games Vietnam Romance Entertainment System, Money Making Workshop, and Wizard Takes All. There’s a facebook event page you can check out, but just in case facebook isn’t your thing we wanted to make sure you could get all the info somewhere else. We’ll also be tweeting reminders over the course of the week, so you could always follow us there so you don’t forget!
Anyway, it’s good to be back!! We hope to talk with you a lot more soon <3
Ben made some amazing eggnog that we’ll be serving at the bar, Robin spent most of last night putting the finishing touches on the cabinets, and Stephen brought Glitch Tank Turtle to life. Ivan, Lauren, Syed, and Cris all worked really hard on getting 3D Pac-Man up and running, while Rob, Thomas and I devoted our time to making the Membership Center nice and pretty. We’re all scrambling to get the last pieces of things in place before we open, and I’ve been spending my morning making gifs that will be projected tonight. They’re all really simple but cute! The one above is a preview, and there will be a couple more on display tonight.
It’s all really happening! We’ll have some special gifts for people who were planning to becoming Babycastles Gallery Members at the Party. We can’t wait to share all this with you.
It’s begun!! Yesterday we started rolling into 210 43rd Street to start setting up for PARTY ON THE 19TH. Syed, Stephen, and Robin transported cabinets from NYU Poly despite the snow, then began setting up the games along with Arthur. We quickly realized that SLAVE OF GOD might cause problems for our friends who are prone to seizures, but we’ve found a solution! We’re going to construct a photobooth-like tent that covers the screen and hang up a warning sign so we can safely display the game. So if this was previously a concern of yours regarding attending the party, don’t worry! Inclusivity is very important to us and we’ll always do everything we can to make sure everyone can have fun safely.
Meanwhile, Joe and his decorating team Magda and Krissy were hard at work bringing some colour to the stark white space. What you see above is only the beginning! After I took these pictures they continued to hang up cool looking objects so that the party will be vivid and exciting. There’s only going to be more kitsch added today and tomorrow, it’s only going to get better!
But it doesn’t end there! We’re looking for TWO MORE VOLUNTEERS to help us out on the night of the party itself. The entire Babycastles team is volunteering their time to make sure this party is the best it can be, and we’re hoping there are a couple other people who can give us the little extra boost we need. Could this be you? We have a couple shifts and kinds of positions available, so please email meow at babycastles dot com with the subject “Party Volunteer” if you’re available.