The Chessbard and Loss Sets

chesspoetry2The Chessbard, an app that translates chess games into poems, turned two this year and was very busy! Aaron Tucker took it to Bergen, Norway for the 2015 Electronic Literature Organization Festival with an upcoming gallery exhibition in Philadelphia in September 2016. Closer to home, Ryerson hosted two-time US Women Chess Champion Jennifer Shahade in the brand new SLC building, where she played a blindfolded game of chess with Aaron Tucker that was translated in real time for those watching. Of course, the site published new work, including a wonderful response from Beatriz Hausner and a second class anthology written by the students of Dr. Jason Boyd’s “Narrative in a Digital Age” class at Ryerson.

2016 also welcomed a new project: Loss Sets. Loss Sets translates poems co-written by Jordan Scott and Aaron Tucker into sculptures printed with 3D printers. The project aims to respond to the multiples of loss (physical, environmental, artistic, personal) that occur in 2016 and, as such, the poems respond to a number of topics that include ISIS’s destruction of millennium-old artwork, the melting of Canadian ice fields and sculptures, the death of loved ones, prosthetics, decaying memories. The sculptures were then built in response to these losses and guided by concerns around the future of what 3D printing, as guided by a utopian, post-capital world in which any object can be made or replaced, will be conceived of and used for. Look for the first gallery exhibition of the project in Victoria, B.C. in June of 2016!

ELO2016-LossSetsWorking with Ryerson’s Digital Media Experience Lab, the Ryerson Geospatial Maps and Data Centre and the Ryerson Centre for Digital Humanities, the poems are first turned into coordinates along the X,Y and Z axes after which, under collaboration between Namir Ahmed, Tiffany Cheung and Aaron Tucker,  those points are mapped into the 3D modeling software Rhino; using the Rhino plug-in Grasshopper, the models are further manipulated by using geographical information from the Columbia Ice Fields until a sculpture is “carved away” from a 32x32x32 cube. The results are then printed using a 3D printer.

You can find the source files and a ton more pictures by visit the github page that is in progress.

Aaron Tucker

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