Safety in Nebulous

July 10 — August 3, 2014

Curated and organized by Stephen Clark and presented by Babycastles at REVERSE Gallery in Brooklyn, featuring the work of Lilith, Liz Ryerson, Julien "Orteil" Thiennot, and Michael Cook.

"Human-made systems, from search engines to home plumbing, surround us in layers and are ingrained in our daily activities. Videogames, as a microcosm of such systems, contain their own sets of familiar systemic elements, like control schemes, goals, or hardware constraints. 'Safety in Nebulous', selected from our curatorial open call and curated by Stephen Lawrence Clark, explores the the wonder, banality, comfort, humor, and terror that can arise, often simultaneously, out of designed systems.

The artists, researchers, and machines whose work is exhibited reflect different ways of appropriating these 'familiar systemic elements' as a form of expression; a way to pipe their own thoughts and feelings through these rickety channels, or twist them to suit their needs. Players are invited to explore endless categorization, talk to televisions and skeletons about hamburgers, clamber through a technicolor prison, and even step into a world imagined, itself, by a system."


MICHAEL COOK ( is a research scientist at Goldsmiths in London, UK where he works as part of the Computational Creativity Group. He’s interested in how computers can design games without any input from humans – not just creating experiences that are fun but also meaningful and culturally important too. He blogs about his research, as well as the work of other researchers in his field, at ANGELINA is a piece of software designed by Michael Cook as the main thrust of his PhD studies. ANGELINA has been through many iterations, designing arcade games, news-themed platformers, and more. She’s been commissioned by the New Scientist and Wired, co-designed a Top 500 Android game, and is now having her work exhibited for the very first time at REVERSE.

JULIEN "ORTEIL" THIENNOT ( is an indie game developer who’s fond of pointless experiments. In 2013, he made Cookie Clicker with a friend of his – which proved to be unexpectedly successful.

LIZ RYERSON ( is an independent game designer, composer, writer, and digital artist. Her work aims to re-evaluate the ways we experience and understand digital spaces – and examine the strange, forgotten threads of game history that might lead us into new territory. Her game ‘Problem Attic’ explores the troubled psychological landscapes of its protagonist through willful abstraction and unconventional game design choices.

She made the Piss Game.
She is currently wanted for ‘Criminal Mischief’ in the Galbadia Region.
Her motives are unclear…
I AM FROM: Dread Home
I WISH FOR: Death Of Masses
I LOVE: Lollipop
I LUST FOR: Emerald

Babycastles is a community committed to being a safe, respectful and positive environment -- supporting artists and guests by providing a space for free expression of all people.  Upon entry, all attendees agree to respect personal boundaries and take responsibility for their actions and experience.  

Babycastles will not tolerate language or behavior that is oppressive. We define oppressive behavior as: >> Any kind of uninvited physical contact, sexual or otherwise
>> Comments or other behaviors that are racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic, ableist, classist, ageist, or otherwise discriminatory
>> Deliberate intimidation
>> Harassing photography or recording
>> Sustained or willful disruption of events, programming, or services

A safe and respectful community is everyone's responsibility. We encourage you to make friends and look out for each other. If you see someone who might be in trouble or in need of assistance, don't hesitate to ask them if they need support or let Babycastles staff or volunteers know.

Individuals who have engaged in oppressive behaviors outside of Babycastles will be held accountable within it. Those with a history of being called out for sexual assault, abuse or other oppressive behaviors may not be permitted entry into the space.
Any member of the Babycastles staff/organization may ask you to leave at any time if your behavior makes others uncomfortable. Additionally, Babycastles is not above its own policies -- all members of Babycastles are expected to adhere to all of the above.

© Babycastles, 2009-2019
photos from: Emi Spicer, Ben Grad, Krissy Rubbles, John Bruneau, Joe Perez, Stephen Clark, Lauren Gardner