Sense the next move – a Fluxus take on chess
During the 1960s, Japanese Fluxus artist Takako Saito created a series of chess sets. The
works were made on request by Lithuanian American artist and founding member of
Fluxus, George Maciunas, who, as Marcel Duchamp, was an enthusiastic chess player,
and the chess pieces was to some extend thought of as a playful homage to the man who
had said that “all chess players are artists”.
Saito’s series of artist’s multiples include amongst others Sound Chess, Spice Chess and
Weight Chess. The rules of the game are the same as for any traditional game of chess,
but using these sets, the players have to sharpen other senses than the one of sight for
being able to follow the rules. As an example, players engaging with the Spice Chess (
where each piece is a small container filled with a particular spice ) has to fully make use
of the olfactory sense to identify each single piece, recognize their positions and move
Besides several other themes, Takako Saito’s collection of chess works clearly questioned
the primacy of vision, and compelled people to consider the value of other senses and the
experiences that comes with them.