One of the most interesting 3D printed art exhibitions to come to our attention this week is Orthogonal/ Diagonal, which just opened in the Enjoy Public Art Gallery in Wellington, New Zealand.
It comprises the work of LA-based, Kiwi-raised and Chinese-born artist Nova Jiang, who has 3D printed eight different versions of chess, each based on a different regional rulebook, including those from China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Myanmar and Thailand. Each piece is re-designed to reflect how it moves on the board.
While those of us in the Western world might assume chess is only played one way, there are actually numerous varieties and, depending on what part of Asia you are in, you could find yourself playing a completely different version, with a different set of rules and pieces.
Jiang, an artist whose work invites tactile and creative participation from its audience, has set-up Orthogonal/ Diagonal for visitor to play at the tables. In fact, the exhibition launched with a four hour tournament, in which participants had to beat several different opponents on several different game variants to progress.
It was attended by art and chess lovers alike, including two international Grand Masters and three former New Zealand chess champions.
Enjoy Gallery explains the exhibition like this:
Treating each chess variant as a unique iteration of the same ancient system, Jiang re-imagines the games as sculptural ensembles of related forms. Can a digital sculptural system generate game pieces that convey their rules of movement and capture? Interested in both redesigning the surface of these games and engaging with their underlying systems, Jiang presents eight games for visitors to play.
Discussing why 3D printing was the right manufacturing technique for the creation of the pieces, Jiang said:
3D printing allowed me to explore new forms, difficult to manufacture by hand and also to prototype designs quickly for play testing. It was a great opportunity to observe whether the design of the individual game pieces really do inform the players of the rules. It turns out that we still needed rulebooks in the beginning, but the game pieces did act as learning aids for many players. I gathered a lot of good design feedback which will help improve the next iteration.