L’Échiqueté as a chess tournament at Goleb – 13th November

Sunday 13th November – 2016

@GOLEB // Burgemeester de Vlugtlaan 125, Amsterdam

La Cocina is inviting you to a chess tournament with a twist _

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7 tables, 12 players, checkered pieces and weaved boards, a performance by Urok Shirhan, a forgotten story by Antoine Deul, comments by Markha Valenta, a conspiracy room with Patrick Bernier & Olive Martin… and also awards, food and drinks to share among peers, friends and family…

Through the tournament, we will dive into “L’Échiqueté,” a trickered version of the chess game created by French artists duo Olive Martin & Patrick Bernier.

L’Échiqueté” was inspired by a photograph from the Bernier family archives depicting a ceremony celebrating the constitution of Niger’s Armed Forces and the commemoration of the first anniversary of the Republic of Niger in 1961. This event followed the signing, a few months earlier, of a defence agreement between France and what are now Burkina-Faso and Benin. The agreement stipulated that the French republic would provide material aid and would also allocate troops to help these countries to form their own national armies. In exchange, France would be granted free access to military infrastructures and – in an annex that remained a state secret for years – privileged access to strategic resources such as oil, gas, and uranium.

The martial configuration of the scene, the distribution of elements within it, as well as the black-and-white attire of the key protagonists, have here been translated into a chessboard diagram and a variation of chess called “L’Échiqueté,” or checkered chess. The rules are the same as for traditional chess. But the artists introduce a new rule, which completely turns the “black-and-white” dichotomy of chess on its head: when a piece is captured, it merges with that of its captor, thus producing a new, black and white “checkered” piece.

The players are forced to reconsider the original tactics of the game: how, for example, to deal with a situation in which it is not possible to capture a menacing piece because it belongs to us as well as to our opponent. Or what to think of the fact that in the course of the game, a third player, as an independent opponent, may take charge of the checkered pieces, as the pieces do not really belong to anyone. The work is a clever détournement of traditional oppositional game strategy as well as a sophisticated metaphor on identity politics and related issues of métissage, or intermixing, hybridity, and alterity. It challenges a polarized view of the world as “black and white” and suggests a different way of negotiating opposition.

* Program:

2:30PM Open doors.

3:00PM Short Introduction by ‘La Cocina’   

-// Performance by Urok Shirhan

-// First round: traditional speed chess.

-// -Conspiracy room: preparing the third players  (a)historical narration by Patrick & Olive.

-// Second round: L’Échiqueté speed chess with an interruption  by Antoine Deul ‘The forgotten history’

-//  Final round: L’Échiqueté without time restrictions and commented by Markha Valenta

6:30PM Awards ceremony + Dinner & Drinks

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About our guests:

Patrick Bernier & Olive Martin

The collaborative practice of Patrick Bernier and Olive Martin combines writing, performance, installation, photography, and film. Their work centers on issues of hospitality and hosting, and explores the fluctuating, porous nature of identity in the postcolonial, migratory context.

Antoin Deul is chair person of Ninsee – National Institute for the Study of Dutch Slavery and Legacy. He is a public speaker addressing issues like racial equality. He also is a water scientist and an environmental activist.

Urok Shirhan (NL/IQ) holds an MA in Visual Cultures from Goldsmiths University, London and a BFA from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam. In 2012/2013 she was a fellow at Ashkal Alwan in Beirut, Lebanon. Her work deals with the politics of image-making and the (sometimes violent) legacies that are perpetuated through visible and invisible representations. Working mainly with video and text, her research at the Jan van Eyck Academie has further explored the performative aspects of her practice.

Markha Valenta

Markha Valenta lives in Amsterdam and works at Radboud University Nijmegen. Her current work concerns the politics of religion and culture in global cities, international relations and secular democracies, with a focus on north America, western Europe, and India. A corresponding concern of the last decade has been the accommodation and discrimination of Muslim minorities in secular democracies since 9/11. She has also worked for the Scientific Council for Government Policy and is a regular participant in Dutch debates on these issues.

Conceptually modelled after a kitchen, “La Cocina” aims to create a place of encounter and dialogue where dissonant, provocative, poetic and sometime incongruous viewpoints can be shared, negotiated, and nurtured.

Implemented in Goleb, an artist-run space based in Amsterdam-West, “ La Cocina ” entails two concomitant endeavours: an ongoing intervention in the interior design of Goleb’s project space that will be inspired by our guests through exchange and dialogue; and a public program that explores the notion of agonism through diverse artistic and discursive practices.

A project initiated by Lore Gablier and Alejandro Ramírez

In collaboration with Mirko Lazović, Igor Sevcuk & Goleb community

And with the participation of architect Andrés Novo

“La Cocina” is supported by AFK (Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst) and sponsored by Urban Resort