Duchamp’s neologistic formulation of the inframince (infrathin) is notoriously difficult to define; Duchamp himself depended on examples. The infrathin can be seen in the example of two forms cast from the same mould, differing in the most minute of ways. The difference between two chess pawns; the infrathin difference in the behaviour of the black and white pieces.
Duchamp infamously surrendered his art practice in the 1930s in favour of pursuing accreditation as a professional chess player believing that his career in the visual arts was at a standstill. His attraction to chess was an artistic one however, as he argued that
The chess pieces are the block alphabet that shapes thoughts; and these thoughts, although making a visual design on the chessboard, express their beauty abstractly, like a poem …. I have come to the personal conclusion that while all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists.
Taking inspiration from Duchamp’s poetic evocation of the visual design of the chessboard, I have rendered the openings of all of Duchamp’s chess games into a series of poetic glyphs. Each 8 by 8 grid represents the positioning of the black pieces following the initial gambits in each of Duchamp’s recorded chess games, recreating each opening as the fledgling moments of cellular automata in John Conway’s Game of Life.