Salvador Dalí’s Iconic Deck of Tarot Cards Get Re-Issued: It’s Out Today

Last month, we highlighted Salvador Dali's deck of Tarot cards. Originally created in 1984, the tarot deck is now being re-issued by Taschen in a beautiful 184-page art book. For those interested, the official release date is today. Read all about the famous deck here. Or purchase your own set of Dali's tarot cards here.

Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It's hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.

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The Seven Road-Tested Habits of Effective Artists

Fifteen years ago, a young construction worker named Andrew Price went in search of free 3d software to help him achieve his goal of rendering a 3D car.

He stumbled onto Blender, a just-the-ticket open source software that helps users with every aspect of 3D creation—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing, and motion tracking.

Price describes his early learning style as "playing it by ear,” sampling tutorials, some of which he couldn’t be bothered to complete.




Desire for freelance gigs led him to forge a new identity, that of a Blender Guru, whose tutorials, podcasts, and articles would help other new users get the hang of the software.

But it wasn’t declaring himself an expert that ultimately improved his artistic skills. It was holding his own feet over the fire by placing a bet with his younger cousin, who stood to gain $1000 if Price failed to rack up 1,000 “likes” by posting 2D drawings to ArtStation within a 6-month period.

(If he succeeded—which he did, 3 days before his self-imposed deadline—his cousin owed him nothing. Loss aversion proved to be a more powerful motivator than any carrot on a stick…)

In order to snag the requisite likes, Price found that he needed to revise some habits and commit to a more robust daily practice, a journey he detailed in a presentation at the 2016 Blender Conference.

Price confesses that the challenge taught him much about drawing and painting, but even more about having an effective artistic practice. His seven rules apply to any number of creative forms:

 

Andrew Price’s Rules for an Effective Artist Practice:

  1. Practice Daily

A number of prolific artists have subscribed to this belief over the years, including novelist (and mother!) JK Rowling, comedian Jerry Seinfeld, autobiographical performer Mike Birbligia, and memoirist David Sedaris.

If you feel too fried to uphold your end of the bargain, pretend to go easy on yourself with a little trick Price picked up from music producer Rick Rubin: Do the absolute minimum. You’ll likely find that performing the minimum positions you to do much more than that. Your resistance is not so much to the doing as it is to the embarking.

  1. Quantity over Perfectionism Masquerading as Quality

This harkens back to Rule Number One. Who are we to say which of our works will be judged worthy. Just keep putting it out there—remember it’s all practice, and law of averages favors those whose output is, like Picasso’s, prodigious. Don’t stand in the way of progress by splitting a single work’s endless hairs.

  1. Steal Without Ripping Off

Immerse yourself in the creative brilliance of those you admire. Then profit off your own improved efforts, a practice advocated by the likes of musician David Bowie, computer visionary Steve Jobs, and artist/social commentator Banksy.

  1. Educate Yourself

As a stand-alone, that old chestnut about practice making perfect is not sufficient to the task. Whether you seek out online tutorials, as Price did, enroll in a class, or designate a mentor, a conscientious commitment to study your craft will help you to better master it.

  1. Give yourself a break

Banging your head against the wall is not good for your brain. Price celebrates author Stephen King’s practice of giving the first draft of a new novel six weeks to marinate. Your break may be shorter. Three days may be ample to juice you up creatively. Just make sure it’s in your calendar to get back to it.

  1. Seek Feedback

Filmmaker Taika Waititirapper Kanye Westand the big gorillas at Pixar are not threatened by others' opinions. Seek them out. You may learn something.

  1. Create What You Want To

Passion projects are the key to creative longevity and pleasurable process. Don’t cater to a fickle public, or the shifting sands of fashion. Pursue the sorts of things that interest you.

Implicit in Price’s seven commandments is the notion that something may have to budge—your nightly cocktails, the number of hours spent on social media, that extra half hour in bed after the alarm goes off... Don’t neglect your familial or civic obligations, but neither should you shortchange your art. Life’s too short.

Read the transcript of Andrew Price's Blender Conference presentation here.

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The Daily Habits of Highly Productive Philosophers: Nietzsche, Marx & Immanuel Kant

How to Read Many More Books in a Year: Watch a Short Documentary Featuring Some of the World’s Most Beautiful Bookstores

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Join her in NYC on Monday, December 9 when her monthly book-based variety show, Necromancers of the Public Domain celebrates Dennison’s Christmas Book (1921). Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Download Hellvetica, a Font that Makes the Elegant Spacing of Helvetica Look as Ugly as Possible

Among typography enthusiasts, all non-contrarians love Helvetica. Some, like filmmaker Gary Hustwit and New York subway map creator Massimo Vignelli, even made a documentary about it. Created by Swiss graphic designer Max Miedinger with Haas Type Foundry president Eduard Hoffmann and first introduced in 1957, Helvetica still stands as a visual definition of not just modernism but modernity itself. That owes in part to its clean, unambiguous lines, and also to its use of space: as all the aforementioned typography enthusiasts will have noticed, Helvetica leaves little room between its letters, which imbues text written in the font with a certain solidity. No wonder it so often appears, more than half a century after its debut, on the signage of public institutions as well as on the promotion of products that live or die by the ostensible timelessness of their designs.

But as times change, so must even near-perfect fonts: hence Helvetica Now. "Four years ago, our German office [was] kicking around the idea of creating a new version of Helvetica," Charles Nix, type director at Helvetica-rights-holder Monotype tells The Verge. "They had identified a short laundry list of things that would be better." What shortcomings they found arose from the fact that the font had been designed for an analog age of optical printing, and "when we went digital, a lot of that nuance of optical sizing sort of washed away." Ultimately, the project was less about updating Helvetica than restoring characters lost in its adaptation to digital, including "the straight-legged capital 'R,' single-story lowercase 'a,' lowercase 'u' without a trailing serif, a lowercase 't' without a tailing stroke on the bottom right, a beardless 'g,' some rounded punctuation."

The development of Helvetica Now also necessitated a close look at all the versions of Helvetica so far developed (the most notable major revision being Neue Helvetica, released in 1983) and adapting their best characteristics for an age of screens. Few of those characteristics demanded more attention than the spacing — or to use the typographical term, the kerning. But however astonishing a showcase it may be, Helvetica Now doesn't drive home the importance of the art of kerning in as visceral a manner as another new typeface: Hellvetica, designed by New York creative directors Zack Roif and Matthew Woodward. Much painstaking labor has also gone into Hellvetica's kerning, but not to make it as beautiful as possible: on the contrary, Roif and Woodard have taken Helvetica and kerned it for maximum ugliness.

The Verge's Jon Porter describes Hellvetica as "a self-aware Comic Sans with kerning that’s somehow much much worse." If that most hated Windows font hasn't been enough to inflict psychological disturbance on the designers in your life, you can head to Hellvetica's official site and "experience it in all its uneven, gappy glory." Roif and Woodard have made Hellvetica free to use, something that certainly can't be said of any genuine version of Helvetica. In fact, the sheer cost of licensing that most modern of all fonts has, in recent years, pushed even the formerly Helvetica-using likes of Apple, Google, and IBM to come up with their own typefaces instead — all of which, tellingly, resemble Helvetica. We can consider them all weapons in the life of a designer, which, as Vignelli put it, "is a life of fight. Fight against the ugliness." Happy downloading...

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Van Gogh’s Ugliest Masterpiece: A Break Down of His Late, Great Painting, The Night Café (1888)

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

How Humans Migrated Across The Globe Over 200,000 Years: An Animated Look

Coverage of the refugee crisis peaked in 2015. By the end of the year, note researchers at the University of Bergen, “this was one of the hottest topics, not only for politicians, but for participants in the public debate,” including far-right xenophobes given megaphones. Whatever their intent, Daniel Trilling argues at The Guardian, the explosion of refugee stories had the effect of framing “these newly arrived people as others, people from ‘over there,’ who had little to do with Europe itself and were strangers.”

Such a characterization ignores the crucial context of Europe’s presence in nearly every part of the world over the past several centuries. And it frames mass migration as extraordinary, not the norm. The crisis aspect is real, the result of dangerously accelerated movement of capital and climate change. But mass movements of people seeking better conditions, safety, opportunity, etc. may be the oldest and most common feature of human history, as the Science Insider video shows above.




The yellow arrows that fly across the globe in the dramatic animation make it seem like early humans moved by bullet train. But when consequential shifts in climate occurred at a glacial pace—and economies were built on what people carried on their backs—mass migrations happened over the span of thousands of years. Yet they happened continuously throughout last 200,000 to 70,000 years of human history, give or take. We may never know what drove so many of our distant ancestors to spread around the world.

But how can we know what routes they took to get there? “Thanks to the amazing work of anthologists and paleontologists like those working on National Geographic’s Genographic Project,” Science Insider explains, “we can begin to piece together the story of our ancestors.” The Genographic Project was launched by National Geographic in 2005, “in collaboration with scientists and universities around the world.” Since then, it has collected the genetic data of over 1 million people, “with a goal of revealing patterns of human migration.”

The project assures us it is “anonymous, nonmedical, and nonprofit.” Participants submitted their own DNA with National Geographic’s “Geno” ancestry kits (and may still do so until next month). They can receive a “deep ancestry” report and customized migration map; and they can learn how closely they are related to “historical geniuses,” a category that, for some reason, includes Jesse James.

Do projects like these veer close to recreating the “race science” of previous centuries? Are they valid ways of reconstructing the “human story” of ancestry, as National Geographic puts it? Critics like science journalist Angela Saini are skeptical. “DNA testing cannot tell you that,” she says in an interview on NPR, but it can “make us believe that identity is biological, when identity is cultural.” National Geographic seems to disavow associations between genetics and race, writing, “science defines you by your DNA, society defines you by the color of your skin.” But it does so at the end of a video about a group of people bonding over their similar features.

Despite the significance modern humans have ascribed to variations in phenotype, race is a culturally defined category and not a scientific one. argues Joseph L. Graves, professor of biological sciences at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering.. "Everything we know about our genetics has proven that we are far more alike than we are different. If more people understood that, it would be easier to debunk the myth that people of a certain race are ‘naturally’ one way or another,” or that refugees and asylum seekers are dangerous others instead of just like every other human who has moved around the world over the last 200,000 years.

Related Content:

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Watch L’Inferno (1911), Italy’s First Feature Film and Perhaps the Best Adaptation of Dante’s Classic

In its second decade, cinema struggled to evolve. The first films by the Lumière Brothers and Thomas Edison were short and gimmicky - shots of trains racing towards the screen, couples kissing and cute kittens getting fed. A quick rush. A bit of fun. Its creators didn’t see much past the novelty of cinema but then other filmmakers like Georges Méliès, Edwin S Porter, Alice Guy-Blaché and D.W. Griffith started injecting this new medium with elements of story. It started aspiring towards art.

To this end, filmmakers started to expand the canvas on which they created. Films that were just two to eight minutes lengthened in duration as their stories grew in complexity. The first feature-length movie came in 1906 with the Australian movie The Story of the Kelly Gang. In 1915, D.W. Griffith premiered his racist masterpiece The Birth of a Nation, which crystallized film language and proved that longer movies could be financially successful. In between those two movies came L’Inferno (1911) – perhaps the finest cinematic adaptation of Dante's Inferno out there and the first feature-length Italian movie ever.

LInferno-1024x505

Like Griffith, the makers of L’Inferno - Francesco Bertolini, Adolfo Padovan and Giuseppe de Liguoro – sought to raise cinema to the ranks of literature and theater. Unlike Griffith, they didn’t really do much to forward the language of cinema. Throughout L’Inferno, the camera remains wide and locked down like the proscenium of a stage. Instead, they focused their efforts on creating gloriously baroque sets and costumes. Much of the film looks like it was pulled straight from Gustave Dorè’s famed illustrations of The Divine Comedy. Yet seeing a picture in a book of a demon is one thing. Seeing it leap around lashing the naked backs of the damned is something else entirely. If you were ever tempted by the sin of simony, you’ll think twice after seeing this film.

L’Inferno -- now added to our collection of Free Movies Online -- became both a critical and commercial hit worldwide, raking in over $2 million (roughly $48 million in today’s money) in the US alone. “We have never seen anything more precious and fine than those pictures. Images of hell appear in all their greatness and power,” gushed famed Italian novelist and reporter Matilde Serao when the film came out.

American film critic for The Moving Picture World, W. Stephen Bush, was even more effusive:

“I know no higher commendation of the work than mention of the fact that the film-makers have been exceedingly faithful to the words of the poet. They have followed, in letter and in spirit, his conceptions. They have sat like docile scholars at the feet of the master, conscientiously and to the best of their ability obeying every suggestion for his genius, knowing no inspiration, except such as came from the fountainhead. Great indeed has been their reward. They have made Dante intelligible to the masses. The immortal work, whose beauties until now were accessible only to a small band of scholars, has now after a sleep of more than six centuries become the property of mankind.”

Of course, the film’s combination of ghoulishness and nudity made it ripe to be co-opted by shady producers who had less that lofty motives. Scenes from L’Inferno were cut into such exploitation flicks as Hell-O-Vision (1936) and Go Down, Death! (1944).

You can watch the full movie above. Be sure to watch to the end where Satan himself can be seen devouring Brutus and Cassius.

Note: An earlier version of this post appeared on our site in July 2015.

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Alberto Martini’s Haunting Illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy (1901-1944)

Gustave Doré’s Dramatic Illustrations of Dante’s Divine Comedy

Jonathan Crow is a Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hollywood Reporter, and other publications. You can follow him at @jonccrow. And check out his blog Veeptopus, featuring lots of pictures of vice presidents with octopuses on their heads.  The Veeptopus store is here.

The Velvet Underground as Peanuts Characters: Snoopy Morphs Into Lou Reed, Charlie Brown Into Andy Warhol

peanut underground

The fun cartoon above was apparently found in a "Guide to the Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol's Factory" published by the French magazine, Les Inrockuptibles in 1990. It came around the same time the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain (located in Paris) held an exhibition dedicated to Andy Warhol. Of course, Warhol famously took a break from painting in the mid-1960s and, among other things, threw his influence behind the up-and-coming NYC band, The Velvet Underground. Serving as the band's manager, he "produced" VU's first album, which meant designing the album cover and giving the band members -- Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Maureen Tucker and Nico -- the freedom to make whatever album they pleased, up to a certain point. Above, you can see these same musicians reimagined as Peanuts characters.

Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It's hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.

Also consider following Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and sharing intelligent media with your friends. Or sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

Related Content:

The Velvet Underground Captured in Color Concert Footage by Andy Warhol (1967)

Andy Warhol Explains Why He Decided to Give Up Painting & Manage the Velvet Underground Instead (1966)

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The First High-Resolution Map of America’s Food Supply Chain: How It All Really Gets from Farm to Table

The phrase "farm to table" has enjoyed vogue status in American dining long enough to be facing displacement by an even trendier successor, "farm to fork." These labels reflect a new awareness — or an aspiration to awareness — of where, exactly, the food Americans eat comes from. A vast and fertile land, the United States produces a great deal of its own food, but given the distance of most of its population centers from most of its agricultural centers, it also has to move nearly as great a deal of food over long domestic distances. Here we have the very first high-resolution map of that food supply chain, created by researchers at the University of Illinois studying "food flows between counties in the United States."

"Our map is a comprehensive snapshot of all food flows between counties in the U.S. – grains, fruits and vegetables, animal feed, and processed food items," writes Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Megan Konar in an explanatory post at The Conversation. (The top version shows the total tons of food moved, and the bottom one is broken down to the county scale.)




"All Americans, from urban to rural are connected through the food system. Consumers all rely on distant producers; agricultural processing plants; food storage like grain silos and grocery stores; and food transportation systems." The map visualizes such journeys as that of a shipment of corn, which "starts at a farm in Illinois, travels to a grain elevator in Iowa before heading to a feedlot in Kansas, and then travels in animal products being sent to grocery stores in Chicago."

Konar and her collaborators' research arrives at a few surprising conclusions, such as that Los Angeles county is both the largest shipper and receiver of food in the U.S. Not only that, but almost all of the nine counties "most central to the overall structure of the food supply network" are in California. This may surprise anyone who has laid eyes on the sublimely huge agricultural landscapes of the Midwest "Cornbelt." But as Konar notes, "Our estimates are for 2012, an extreme drought year in the Cornbelt. So, in another year, the network may look different." And of the grain produced in the Midwest, much "is transported to the Port of New Orleans for export. This primarily occurs via the waterways of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers."

Konar also warns of troubling frailties: "The infrastructure along these waterways—such as locks 52 and 53—are critical, but have not been overhauled since their construction in 1929," and if they were to fail, "commodity transport and supply chains would be completely disrupted." The analytical minds at Hacker News have been discussing the implications of the research shown on this map, including whether the U.S. food supply chain is really, as one commenter put it, "very brittle and contains many weak points." The American Society of Civil Engineers, as Konar tells Food & Wine, has given the country's civil engineering infrastructure a grade of D+, which at least implies considerable room for improvement. But against what from some angles look like long odds, food keeps getting from American farms to American tables — and American forks, American mouths, American stomachs, and so on.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Pretty Much Pop #19 Discusses Race and the Target Audience w/ Rodney Ramsey

We’ve all felt at various points (maybe at most points) that some media creation has reached us by mistake, that we are not the target audience. 20th century American TV was aimed largely at a white majority, with a parallel, underfunded channel of content aimed at people of color.

So how have things changed? There still seem to be “black shows,” but how do they fit in to a landscape where inclusiveness is a tool by which shows attempt to appeal to everyone (i.e. get all the money)? Comedian/actor/writer/producer Rodney Ramsey joins Mark Linsenmayer, Erica Spyres, and Brian Hirt to discuss the experience of watching outside your demographic, whether identifying with characters requires physical commonalities, “black voice,” and the evolving TV landscape.

We touch on WatchmenAtlantaBlack PantherInsecureSorry to Bother YouBlacKkKlansman, Tyler Perry, Dear White PeopleBlack Jesus, and the black Herminone issue.

Some of the articles we considered included:

Follow Rodney @Rodney_Ramsey.

This episode includes bonus discussion that you can only hear by supporting the podcast at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network.

Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast is the first podcast curated by Open Culture. Browse all Pretty Much Pop posts or start with the first episode.

John Cleese’s Eulogy for Monty Python’s Graham Chapman: ‘Good Riddance, the Free-Loading Bastard, I Hope He Fries’

The British comedian Graham Chapman delighted in offending people. As a writer and actor with the legendary Monty Python troupe, he pushed against the boundaries of propriety and good taste. When his writing partner John Cleese proposed doing a sketch on a disgruntled man returning a defective toaster to a shop, Chapman thought: Broken toaster? Why not a dead parrot? And in one particularly outrageous sketch written by Chapman and Cleese in 1970,  Chapman plays an undertaker and Cleese plays a customer who has just rung a bell at the front desk:

"What can I do for you, squire?" says Chapman.

"Um, well, I wonder if you can help me," says Cleese. "You see, my mother has just died."

"Ah, well, we can 'elp you. We deal with stiffs," says Chapman. "There are three things we can do with your mother. We can burn her, bury her, or dump her."

"Dump her?"

"Dump her in the Thames."

"What?"

"Oh, did you like her?"

"Yes!"

"Oh well, we won't dump her, then," says Chapman. "Well, what do you think? We can bury her or burn her."

"Which would you recommend?"

"Well, they're both nasty."

From there, Chapman goes on to explain in the most graphic detail the unpleasant aspects of either choice before offering another option: cannibalism. At that point (in keeping with the script) outraged members of the studio audience rush onto the stage and put a stop to the sketch.




Chapman and Cleese had been close friends since their student days at Cambridge University, and when Chapman died of cancer at the age of 48 on October 4, 1989, Cleese was at his bedside. Out of respect for Chapman's family, the members of Monty Python decided to stay away from his private funeral and avoid a media circus. Instead, they gathered for a memorial service on October 6, 1989 in the Great Hall at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London. When Cleese delivered his eulogy for Chapman, he recalled his friend's irreverence: "Anything for him, but mindless good taste." So Cleese did his best to make his old friend proud. His off-color but heartfelt eulogy that evening has become a part of Monty Python lore, and you can watch it above. To see a longer clip, with moving words from Michael Palin and a sing-along of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" led by Eric Idle, watch below:

Note: An earlier version of this post appeared on our site in February 2013.

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A Brief History of Chess: An Animated Introduction to the 1,500-Year-Old Game

I have come to the personal conclusion that while all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists.

 –Marcel Duchamp

"Over the roughly one and half millennia of its existence, chess has been known as a tool of military strategy, a metaphor for human affairs, and a benchmark of genius,” points out the TED-Ed animated history of the game by Alex Gendler, above. The first records of chess date to the 7th century, but it may have originated even a century earlier, in India, where we find mention of the first game to have different moves for different pieces, and “a single king piece, whose fate determined the outcome.”

It was originally called “chaturanga,” a word that Yoga practitioners will recognize as the “four-limbed staff pose,” but which simply meant “four divisions” in this context. Once it spread to Persia, it became “chess,” meaning “Shah,” or king. It took root in the Arab world, and traveled the Silk Road to East and Southeast Asia, where it acquired different characteristics but used similar rules and strategies. The European form we play today became the standard, but it might have been a very different game had the Japanese version—which allowed players to put captured pieces into play—dominated.




Chess found ready acceptance everywhere it went because its underlying principles seemed to tap into common models of contest and conquest among political and military elites. Though written over a thousand years before “chaturanga” arrived in China—where the game was called xiangqi, or “elephant game"—Sun Tzu’s Art of War may as well have been discussing the critical importance of pawns in declaring, “When the officers are valiant and the troops ineffective the army is in distress.”

Chess also speaks to the hierarchies ancient civilizations sought to naturalize, and by 1000 AD, it had become a tool for teaching European noblemen the necessity of social classes performing their proper roles. This allegorical function gave to the pieces the roles we know today, with the piece called “the advisor” being replaced by the queen in the 15th century, “perhaps inspired by the recent surge of strong female leaders.”

Early Modern chess, freed from the confines of the court and played in coffeehouses, also became a favorite pastime for philosophers, writers, and artists. Treatises were written by the hundreds. Chess became a tool for summoning inspiration, and performing theatrical, often Punic games for audiences—a trend that ebbed during the Cold War, when chessboards became proxy battlegrounds between world superpowers, and intense calculation ruled the day.

The arrival of IBM’s Deep Blue computer, which defeated reigning champion Garry Kasparov in 1996, signaled a new evolution for the game, a chess singularity, as it were, after which computers routinely defeated the best players. Does this mean, according to Marcel Duchamp’s observation, that chess-playing computers should be considered artists? Chess’s earliest adopters could never have conceived of such a question. But the game they passed down through the centuries may have anticipated all of the possible outcomes of human versus machine.

Related Content:

Garry Kasparov Now Teaching an Online Course on Chess

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Chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov Relives His Four Most Memorable Games

When John Cage & Marcel Duchamp Played Chess on a Chessboard That Turned Chess Moves Into Electronic Music (1968)

Marcel Duchamp, Chess Enthusiast, Created an Art Deco Chess Set That’s Now Available via 3D Printer

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness





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