Chess with Mustaches
by Bryan Cera and Scott Kildall
Chess with Mustaches is a set of six mustachioed 3D-printed chess pieces, created in response to a legal threat from the Duchamp Estate. In 2014, Scott Kildall and Bryan Cera published Readymake: Duchamp Chess Pieces, a 3D-printable digital recreation of Marcel Duchamp’s original chess set. Interested in celebrating the artist’s legacy and introducing his works to a growing online community of makers, they uploaded the models to Thingiverse for anyone to download and print. The Duchamp Estate challenged the chess pieces as copyright infringement and, after practical considerations, Kildall and Cera scrubbed the original work from the internet. The full description of the thought process is here.
Chess with Mustaches adds mustaches to their 3D recreated models, positioning these revised chess pieces not as a recreation but rather as parody. Now, rather than the gesture of resurrecting a “lost” object for anyone to 3D print, the artwork exists only as the parodied object itself.
The mustaches reference Duchamp’s own L.H.O.O.Q. which many interpreted as an attack on the iconic Mona Lisa and traditional art in general. We see our act as one that continues the legacy of Duchamp’s contribution to the art dialogue, by investigating object-hood and ownership in the age of the internet sharing and remixing. This project invites everyone to rethink relationships between accessibility of information and intellectual property.