The ChessBard

BUY: Irresponsible Mediums: The Chess Games of Marcel Duchamp (Bookthug, Fall 2017).

In short, the ChessBard is an app co-created by Aaron Tucker and Jody Miller that takes the input of the algebraic notation for a chess game in .PGN format (digital file format for archived chess games) and outputs a poem. The poems are based on 12 source poems Aaron Tucker wrote, 6 poems for the white pieces, 6 poems for the black pieces: there is a 64 word poem for each colour’s pawns, knights, rooks, bishop, queen and king. When a piece lands on a square it triggers a word from the source poems and the translator compiles them together and outputs a poem.

You can use the Translator here to translate any chess game ever into a poem; you can also play against a Chess AI and create a poem with that AI in real time.

We are very excited to announce that you can now buy Irresponsible Mediums: The Chess Games of Marcel Duchamp (Bookthug, Fall 2017).

In 1968, avant-garde artist Marcel Duchamp and composer John Cage exhibited Reunion, a chess performance that took place in Toronto. Whenever Duchamp or Cage moved a piece, it generated a musical note until the game was transformed into a symphony.

Inspired by this performance, Irresponsible Mediums —poet and academic Aaron Tucker’s second full-length collection of poems—translates Duchamp’s chess games into poems using the ChessBard (an app co-created by Tucker and Jody Miller) and in the process, recreates Duchamp’s joyous approach to making art, while also generating startling computer-made poems that blend the analog and digital in strange and surprising combinations. The text includes an introduction from two-time US Women’s Chess Champion Jennifer Shahade (who has performed with Tucker and the ChessBard previously in Toronto and Philadelphia)

For further thinking and explanation behind the ChessBard visit Tucker’s Poetics Page.