Marcel Duchamp would have liked the idea: two artists are offering user instructions to print in 3D and resin the Art Deco chess set he sculpted in 1918-1919 in Buenos Aires.
This prototype reaches well beyond the object (the chess pieces). The makers get to print them themselves. “Readymake: Duchamp Chess Set” was designed by two American coding artists, Scott Kildall and Bryan Cera, from a photograph of the wooden game designed by Marcel Duchamp in 1919 in Buenos Aires. The father of modern and contemporary art was also an avid chess player. He considered chess as a “drug”, took part in championships and even wrote a manual in 1932 (we recommend on Ubuweb “Chess game with Marcel Duchamp”, archive of the 1963 ORTF and these traces of the exhibition “Marcel Duchamp The Art of Chess”, in New York in 2009).
With “Readymake: Duchamp Chess Set”, Scott Kildall and Bryan Cera have been offering user instructions on Thingiverse (.stl files) since April to test Duchamp’s ready-made in the digital fabrication era: each 3D print gives a slightly different result, variations that also interest our two artists for whom the “readymake transforms photographs of lost objects in shared 3D digital spaces that generate new forms and significations”.
In less than two months, nearly 2,000 internet users downloaded instructions on Thingiverse and about ten people posted their achievements, tested from other materials on other printers. Scott Kildall documented these different versions on his blog to highlight the extreme relevance of the Duchamp concept in the field of 3D printing. One has to say that the boy is a fan of the French artist. In 2012 he coded a program of chess game simulation in which you confronted Marcel Duchamp.
And since the creativity of makers is waiting to express itself, one of them has been offering for three days a remix of the Readymake with his version of another chess set from a famous artist, Man Ray.