Queening

RMIT 

Interior Design 2019 

Tutors:  Luca Lana

Queening’ the rather transsexual act when the pawn metamorphosis into the most powerful piece on the Queen!  1944 MOMA exhibition imagery of chess invited renowned artists such as Isamu Noguchi, Man Ray and Max Ernst to contribute a custom chess set.  What was largely consistent with the 38 contributors was that they were mostly male and as world war two raged most had not reconciled the chess’ violent, oppositional and sexist nature.  During the renaissance Chess was not a male-exclusive sport. it was enjoyed by men and women who could play together unchaperoned and often suggested as a postnatal pass time. In‘Birth of the Chess queen’ Marilyn Yalom discusses early chess as a game of transgression and seduction,  ironically though the reinvention and return of the powerful queen piece (reflecting shifting attitudes in gender politics at the time)also contributed to the game becoming a faster passed male-dominated sport.   Regina L. O‘Shea  in Queening: Chess and Women in Medieval and Renaissance France argues the symbolism of chess was an attempt accurately portray social hierarchies of the time yet since here have been little changes made in the way the game has been played for 300 years.  Reflecting on this stagnate and now highly sexist sport where only 4% of grandmasters are women,  This research looks at the very nature of how the game is played. 

As creators, artists and spatial practitioners we reflect on the contemporary discussions surrounding gender and design,  our usage of materiality, form and function are laden with politics even if mostly we are unaware.   Similarly as the famously utilitarian Bauhaus design to Yoko Ono’s all-white chess set where reflections of their context Q- Studio asks can we use chess as a vehicle to have a contemporary discussion about chess design?  Focusing on gender Queening: Politics of Play asked students to deepen their understanding of design aesthetics their origins and through thorough research into chess design proposes polemical alternatives.  Q-studio and participating students will host an exhibition of works at the NGV in the near future. 

 

participants

Jessie Milhe

Andrea Hipolito

Liwen Lian

Lisa Miyagi

Qiwen Shen

Zhaowei Jiang

Celline Than

Ling Chen

Nabilla Musbandi

Angelica Stanislaus

Xitong Zeng

Xie Bin