Marcel Duchamp is widely recognized for his contribution to conceptual art, but his lifelong obsession was the game of chess, in which he achieved the rank of Master. Working with the records of his chess matches, I have created a computer program to play chess as if it were Marcel Duchamp. I invite all artists, skilled and unskilled at this classic game, to play against a Duchampian ghost.
You can play the game, via the Turbulence Archives here.
During my childhood, I was a chess whiz and spent many hours playing against a primitive chess computer my father bought me. I reveled in the infinite possibilities on such a small board. When playing firends, I learned about imagination and deception: how to set traps, feign weaknesses and when to attack. After university, I became a computer programmer and in later years, I transitioned into the contemporary artworld as a new media artist. Fascinated by paradigm shifts such as those created by Duchamp, I wanted honor his legacy as a both an artist and chess player — the two are inseparable. Combining my early love of chess with my algorithmic skills and a current passion for creating conceptual media artwork, this piece serves this purpose.
Made Real, Futherfield, London, May 2011
The Seduction of Duchamp, Art Museum of Los Gatos, 2010
Regev, Hanna, “Making Duchamp Relevant in the Digital Age“, Switch New Media Journal, Issue 28, November 28, 2013
Kekou, Eva, “Interview with Scott Kildall and Nathaniel Stern“, 4Humanities, January 3, 2013
Credits & Thanks
Playing Duchamp” is a 2010 commission of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc. for its Turbulence website.. It was made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding was provided by Terminal at Austin Peay State University.