Uncaptioned still from Nepenthe Rifts by Lawrence Lek, shown on MattFlix
Uncaptioned still from Nepenthe Rifts by Lawrence Lek, shown on MattFlix

Lawrence Lek

Nepenthe Rifts

7 July – 8 September 2023

‘Darkness engulfs Tower Hamlets - all power snuffed out by an unknown force. You awaken in your small apartment, a sense of urgency flooding your electronic circuits. You scan through your humble room. There is a WINDOW which opens to the view of the city and a TABLE that holds your valuables. Sitting on the bed you can see the HALLWAY stretch out.’


Nepenthe Rifts is a new text-based online fantasy RPG adventure game by Lawrence Lek for MattFlix.

Nepenthe Rifts is part of Lek’s ongoing 'Nepenthe' series. In Greek mythology ‘Nepenthe’ is a medicine which cures sorrow by inducingforgetfulness.Across games and simulations, the series explores the role of memory in video games.

In this iteration, Lek combines AI-generated images with real photographs from sites in Bethnal Green, East London. The work plays with memory both in the narrative and in the dreamlike images this combination creates.

The narrative of the game is drive by a quest to find your magical electricity-generating dog named ‘Looty’, the only one who can restore power to the district.

The game is accompanied by an original soundtrack by Lek.

Commissioned by Matt’s Gallery for MattFlix, with support from Art Fund.

Lawrence Lek is represened by Sadie Coles HQ.

Lawrence Lek: Nepenthe Rifts (Adventure Version)

Direction, Music and Story by Lawrence Lek

Game Design with Awe IX

Images Generated and Edited with Tomiris Batalova