Lauren Gardner

OK, but why?


Babycastles Summit | 2012


Co-Organizer of the Babycastles Summit, a three-day series exploring innovation in interactive media and human interaction.


The weekend long summit included over 80+ talks, panels, hands-on workshops, 25+ bands and DJs highlighting five original physical game installations designed by Keita Takahashi, game designer of Katamari Damacy, which were presented as a full-floor play-scape installation in the top floor of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City.

Inspired by Keita’s kid-friendly play-scape designs and Anna Anthropy’s book, “Rise of the Videogame Zinesters: How Freaks, Normals, Amateurs, Artists, Dreamers, Drop-outs, Queers, Housewives, and People Like You Are Taking Back an Art Form”, we wanted to produce an event that:
  1. highlighted the diversity (gender, race, economic & mediums) of artists working in ‘games’
  2. presented conversations by leaders in independent games to explore new possibilities in how to engage, alter, and expand social structures
  3. was assessable to people of all ages, radically affordable and had a wide spectrum of programming for a game curious audience
  4. would ultimately encourage anyone to participate in games

This was Babycastles biggest project to-date. It was lovingly built in association with Kaho Abe, Neil Fridd and Ivan Safrin in less then three weeks with the help of a half dozen developers and a host of volunteers. In retrospect it more then achieved our hopes and goals by opening up the NYC gaming community to a wider audience. It is often quoted as ‘this was my first games event in NYC’ by people who have gone on to pursue deeper artistic and professional practices after attending.

We made over 500 new friends that weekend and if I had to pick a favorite project, it would be ‘Sidescroller’.

Photos from the event:
 The games: