For Asian Heritage Month, the Peel Art Gallery Museum & Archives near Toronto is hosting a special exhibit on the traditional board games of India.

Board games have a universal appeal that transcends language and culture. “The Art of Kreeda” means “the art of playing”. This exhibit entertains, educates and pays tribute to the iconic board games that India introduced to the world.

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Automated Chess Poetry

Chess BoardAt, Aaron Tucker and Jody Miller have developed a computer program that translates Chess games in to poetry. Chessbard, as they call it, takes the standard algebraic notation of recorded Chess games, draws on a series of source poems, and applies an algorithm to produce unique works for each game.

There are distinct source poems for each piece (king, queen, bishop, rook, knight, and pawn) in each color (white and black) and each poem is 64 words long—one word corresponding to each space on the board.

Chess is a collection of cities, vibrantly unique and organic. Chess is the authorial path of a story or a poem. Chess is the delicate hinge between imagination and reality. Chess is both mechanical and human. In 2014, chess is the culmination of the rise of digital computing, a murky proving ground of intelligence, a litmus test for computer and human intelligence and creativity, but, most fascinatingly, a collision point for human-computer relationships…

The goal of the Chessbard is not whether it’s possible to get a computer to write a better poem than a human, but rather how computers and humans can work together to make poetry in collaboration.

Visitors to the website can play games and have them translated live,  upload any saved game in standard PGN format, or browse the poetic versions of a number of famous Chess games. Here’s The Game of the Century, Donald Byrne vs. Bobby Fischer, 1956:

any sand, lock mechanically knots
and massively blurs beside sphere

Will flavour choose circlet and operation?
Probably skittish powder

each settled woman erratically ravishes
mirror, woman bases hideously and
lyrically likes base, a finger

massive stage, spooned woman mirrors
and blackens stormy ferryboat, storm

diagonal texture below this centre
forks make-up, a fate
steadies and draws force

limbed drawing icily de-escalates hour
automaton yelps or draws instant

this darkness and absolution, shoreline
inquires revision, force beside texture

mimic owns choice down symmetry
automatic drawing ventures

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3D Game Art for Your Wall

Over on Etsy, John du Bois is offering shadow boxes assembled from board game components. The games include Carcassonne, Monopoly, Clue, Ticket to Ride, and Catan, with boxes ranging in price $50-65.

Carcassonne Shadow Box

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From the 2015 edition of The Asufa Haggadah, an anthology of illustrated pages from 40 Israeli artists.

The Asufa Haggadah

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Man Ray Chess Set

The King is mine
the Queen is yours
the Rook cooks,
the Bishop reflects
the Knight is crooked
the Pawn spies
like all good rogues
he contains shades of the rest.

…Thus is the artist’s own poem inlaid in French on the board of a silver Chess set by Man Ray. One of a series of 50, the set is scheduled for auction Wednesday at Sotheby’s in London. Estimate: £40,000-60,000.

Man Ray Chess Set

[translation courtesy of Eric Harlaux]

Monkeys Playing Go

Up for auction at Bonhams in San Francisco, a late 19th century carving in ivory of monkeys playing Go, estimated at $1,200-1,800.

Monkeys Playing Go

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Poetry Via the Scrabble Dictionary

101 Two Letter WordsSinger-songwriter Stephin Merritt has penned a book of poetry based on The Official Scrabble Player’s Dictionary. 101 Two-Letter Words features a four-line rhyming poem for each of the two-letter words in the last edition of the dictionary (not the additional words in the new edition just released this summer).

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James Cook in Always Be RollingThrough August 23rd, comedian James Cook performs a board game themed stand-up routine at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Titled, “Always Be Rolling,” Cook’s show is participatory. Audience members join in a live game of Hungry Hungry Hippos, where they play the hippos (gobbling marshmallows instead of marbles)!

Cook has also set up a game to be played around Edinburgh during the festival. He’s hidden iconic game pieces for people to find at 10 sites in the city. At his show, audience members get a copy of the game’s rules, as well as a badge to wear, proclaiming their participation.

James Cook performs daily at 1 PM at The Laughing Horse at Bar 50. The show is free.

[via Coventry Telegraph]

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Two new art and design exhibits open Thursday at the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis.

In the first exhibit, Strategy by Design, are board games from the Michael Graves Design Group. Along with additional pieces to provide historical context are Graves-designed versions of Scrabble, Monopoly, Yahtzee, and Backgammon.

Michael Graves Chess set

The second, Pieces and Performances, pairs the works of John Cage and Glenn Kaino. From Cage is the Chess board he rigged to play different musical pieces depending on the space to which a piece was moved. The board was originally used by the artist and Marcel Duchamp for a public performance in 1968. From Kaino are an 80 inch square Chess board and images of a 2007 Chess tournament in which the pieces were lit candles (thus featuring a built-in time-limit).

Cage Reunion Musical Chess Board

Kaino Burning Chess Boards

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Poker Art

An art installation made from playing cards for the offices of a poker website:


Click the pic for more info and other views.

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