Art-Game Traditions in the Modification of Chess


Session Title:

  • Notes on the History and Politics of Gameplay

Presentation Title:

  • Art-Game Traditions in the Modification of Chess




  • Over the past two decades the appropriation, modification and subversion of digital games has developed as an ongoing practice amongst artists. This has been discussed by a number of theorists but less attention has been given to historical precedents auguring this trend. Through the example of the game of chess, this paper discusses some of the key elements of association that have defined the interrelation of art and games from the early days of the twentieth century through to our contemporary era. The game form, whether digital or non-digital, will be considered a medium whose tool value is intricately interconnected with game mechanics. Specific examples will be discussed with attention to how they mark ruptures with tradition in game design and demonstrate a critical play impulse that is shared by artists of yesterday and today.