Oct 5 :YOU are invited to play chess against blindfolded Texas Chess Champion Zurabi Javakhadre in Dallas

Announcing Re-Imagining ChessNine Evenings Reunion 3  Oct 5 2011 

Nine Evenings Three: Theater and Engineering 

GOOD MOVES: A group exhibition and auction dedicated to the game of chess September 6—October 5, 2019  Press Release The Power Station, Dallas  is proud to present ‘Good Moves’, an exhibition dedicated to the game of chess. ‘Good Moves’ features artist made chess sets and other chess related artworks, that further develop the aesthetic legacy of the game, while collectively serving a worthy purpose. All works included in ‘Good Moves’ are to be auctioned at the close of the exhibition to endow a chess program at Vogel Alcove*, a Dallas-based, non-profit organization on a mission to help young children overcome the lasting and traumatic effects of homelessness. The auction is open. Attendance at the oct 5 performance is free 

The Re-Imagining Chess performance led by the UTD ArtSciLab will be Saturday October 5th at the Power Station Gallery, Dallas ,

Background: Recently ATEC Dean Anne Balsamo https://atec.utdallas.edu/content/anne-balsamo/, presented a proposal for the four pillars of excellence of our new school of Art Technology and Emerging Communication: https://atec.utdallas.edu/  

These are the result of three years of consultation and ideation among the 50 faculty and 1500 students of the school. The co-design has been carried out together with other schools in the university and the university administration, as well as our local community of for profit, non-profit, civic organizations, schools and other communities of practice. 

The four pillars of this proposed taxonomy of excellence for ATEC are: 

  • Ethics, Technology and Community Engagement 
  • Designing Culture 
  • Innovative demonstration of emerging technologies 
  • Creative Technologies Research 

As with all taxonomies there is no best taxonomy, but many good ones depending on the context. Other organizations have other ways of framing their values and ideas about what excellence could be. These are not intended to be slogans, but rather thinking tools, open to critique and evolution. In the ArtSciLab we are currently using Terry Irwin’s Transition Design Methods:   

And in particular we use artmaking as a research method to improve our data sonification software, Data Stethoscope. We have developed new ways of converting data into sound  https://artscilab.atec.io/projects/data-stethoscope  for general use in helping people make quicker and better decisions. 

DataStethoscope allows you to hear information in the data that cannot be easily visualised. 

Our ArtSciLab collaborators and members would be interested in your critiques and divergent thoughts- email to roger.malina@utdallas.edu 

One comment that came in was that the “Designing Culture”, in the singular, went against one of our lab’s explicit values of heterogeneity. Heterogeneous groups will come up with different ideas, often better ones, than homogeneous ones.   We need more than one culture.

This has been researched and documented by the science of team science .https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/65/7/639/258550  

 This leads to our belief that there are not “best” practices but that there are many “good“ practices that are context dependent.  

So “designing cultureS” might better embody the value of heterogeneity than “Designing Culture” in the singular. 

The possible benefits of hetero-phily rather than homo-phily are elaborated with new insights by Mathew O. Jackson in his new book “The human network; How your social position determines your power, beliefs and behaviors. https://www.amazon.com/Human-Network-Position-Determines-Behaviors-ebook/dp/B073YTX8TM  

Jackson draws on the most current sciences of network and sciences of complexities. I insist on the plural, as he does, because there is not one science of networks but several. 

 I note that ATEC art historian Max Schich has demonstrated the validity of this theoretical approaches to new kinds of art histories that use network analysis of data ( https://atec.utdallas.edu/content/schich-maximilian/ ) published in Nature A Network Framework of Cultural History (Science Magazine, 2014) _) 

If this sounds terribly academic, we are going through preparations for the art performance as a research method for Data Stethosope https://artscilab.atec.io/projects/data-stethoscope   and we hope to address how we contribute to each of the four pillars of ATEC.

On October 5, Saturday in Dallas, Texas we will be performing an interactive multimedia performance, which hopefully demonstrates how we practice how we theorize. It is entitled:  


The team is led by Scot Gresham Lancaster (http://scot.greshamlancaster.com/  colleagues and friends. It will be performed at the Dallas Power Station Gallery  ( http://powerstationdallas.com/ ) as part of the Good Moves art exhibit: 


A group exhibition and auction dedicated to the game of chess September 6—October 5, 2019 Press Release The Power Station is proud to present ‘Good Moves’, an exhibition dedicated to the game of chess. ‘Good Moves’ features artist made chess sets and other chess related artworks, that further develop the aesthetic legacy of the game, while collectively serving a worthy purpose. All works included in ‘Good Moves’ are to be auctioned at the close of the exhibition to endow a chess program at Vogel Alcove*, a Dallas-based, non-profit organization on a mission to help young children overcome the lasting and traumatic effects of homelessness. The auction is open. 

The reimagined chess playing will be led by  ArtSciLab Texas Chess Grand Champion Zura Javakhadze) ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/zurability/ ). 

Zura will be playing blindfolded against members of the audience. Each move and board position will be converted to sound using techniques of data sonification based on the ArtSciLab Taxonomy of DataSonification . ( we can provide this white paper on request) .One possible application of this innovative demonstration of emerging technologies will be to help humans that are differently abled in their vision cognitive and observational skills; we hope to use these approaches on our new esports research on cyber-athletes. 

The ArtSciLab Data Stethoscope project ( https://atec.utdallas.edu/content/data-stethoscope/), initially funded or supported by DARPA, Microsoft, the Edith O Donnell Foundation and others, is now in experimental trials in applications ranging from business analytics to medical diagnostic imaging. Yes we are looking for funding. 

The ArtSciLab at UTD Dallas ( https://artscilab.atec.io/ ) was established in 2013/14 by Cassini Nazir and myself at the behest of Tom Linehan ( https://atec.utdallas.edu/content/linehan-thomas/ ) . We take this opportunity to acknowledge the vision and enthusiasm that Tom has shared and infected us with through his own networks of friends and colleagues. 

Oh yes. Why Re-Imagining Chess: REUNION THREE ? 

Reunion 1; was a chess game during Nine Evenings ; Theater and Engineering 


between Marcel Duchamp and John Cage using the first electronic chess board in 1968. ( https://hyperallergic.com/424124/marcel-duchamp-john-cage-reunion-chess-toronto/ )  

Reunion TWO was performed in Seattle in 2018 by our team led by Scot  

https://artscilab.atec.io/blog/marcel-cage-and-john-duchamp-perform-reunion-at-nine-evenings-2-in-seattle  , Gagan Wig, Tim Perkis, Andrew Blanton and myself, 

This blog post developed in collaboration with Wolf Rainer whose pioneering work with children in refugee camps , https://www.worldcat.org/title/primacy-of-practical-action-schools-for-refugee-children-in-a-time-of-national-emergency/oclc/34121386 , is an exemplar of pillar 1. 

Critique from Wolf Dieter Peter Rainer: 


I appreciate your mentioning of my education work with displaced Indo-Chinese refugee communities (Khmer and Sino-Khmer) on the Thai-Cambodian border. 

First of all, the very words: ‘designing culture(s)’ makes my hair stand up on end as the phrase reeks of a kind of ‘hybris’(hubris ?) which only people who don’t know the meaning (and history) of the meaning of words (etymology) could possibly come up with. 

Did Martin Luther want to design or re-design culture? Probably not. or maybe yes, depending on what you mean by culture (and the Catholic church). 

Did Claudius (aka Julian the Apostate) want to design or re-design culture? Maybe yes, maybe no, again, it depends what you mean by culture. In this case, antiquity and Christianity were already a hybrid Culture with a capital ‘C’. 

Probably, if you want to “design or re-design” culture’, you have to try to influence and have control of institutions (Kuhn, et. Al). 

Did Martin Luther King ‘re-design’ culture? Probably yes, but not for long and certainly not without the assist of Lyndon B. Johnson. 

When I found myself in a refugee camp in a Thai border area no-man’s land with a displaced Cambodian population of some 80.000 persons, locked into  a space of perhaps 25 football fields, certainly, whatever the meaning of ‘culture’ may  be, the Cambodian refugees knew what it meant: Cambodian language schools, Cambodian Buddhist temples, etc. 

It seems to me that what some people think of when they speak of ‘designing culture’ is basically about designing gadgets (which may change a culture, to be sure): the steam engine, stone age tools, bronze age tools, gun powder, digitalisation, etc. 

If Francisco Pizarro in 1532 hadn’t brought his guns, horses and his roman catholic spanish culture to Peru, the Aztecs might have had a better chance to keep on designing ‘their own culture’ as they saw fit. Whoever survived Pizarro’s visit was only able to pass on a crude re-semblance of what they had before. 

In the USA, the modern pre-occupation with ‘culture’ began with Franz Boas, Ruth Benedict and Margaret Meade, et. al. They introduced the terms and the academic disciplines of ‘cultural anthropology’ and ‘social anthropology’ in the US. They redefined ‘culture’ both with a small and a big ‘C for most Americans, especially those persons who are now in the Seventies. 

Was puberty a testosterone-driven biological given for all human beings?  No, said Margaret Meade, after studying Samoan teenagers. Did she change the nature-nurture debate. Yes. Did she change the culture? Who knows? Probably some sexual mores. Cultural change may take a very long time, and then again, maybe not. Institutions and governments in power often manage quick changes. See the reformation, but then again, there came the ‘restoration’, depending who was next in power. 

There is an interesting article by Louis Menand in the August 26th 2019 issue of the New Yorker on the subject of ‘culture’ and the US culture wars. It’s a review of Charles King’s new book ‘Gods of the Upper Air’. 


According to my taste, we should bake smaller ‘muffins’ in our discussion of  designing or re-designing ‘culture’ or ‘the history of ideas, etc.’ 

Making a ‘contribution to knowledge’ used to be a good-enough purpose in academia. I think we should keep it that way 

Wolf Rainer