Chess of Rites

90×90 cm cotton and silk, 32 custom engraved figures from metal, Edition: Unique, 2019

In what way do epigenetics condition our decision-making and identification protocols? What can we learn from identity progressions and ritualizations in service of establishing better internal self-care mechanisms? Where are the boundaries between authentic thought styles and socio-cultural designs? And in which way do particular vocabularies and dialectical constellations govern the way we understand belonging and the notion of selfhood?

Reflecting upon the tension between value production and internalized identity progression the work Chess of Rites (2019) plays with the intersectionality between developmental psychology, auto-ethnographic excavations and the transactional nature of cognitive capitalism. The transitory quality of psycho-behavioural conditioning and its relationships with value transactions are at the central focus of this work. Examining Erik Ericson’s eight stages of identity development, Jungian shadow work and Eric Berne’s transactional analysis, Knezović’s playful installation deliberates strategies and methodologies of the associative protocols and internal narratives of one’s own cognition.

Inspired and appropriated from the chess template the installation Chess of Rites is comprised of a handmade silky-cotton white textile board — with each square holding different progression directly interrelated to affects and decision-making such as compromise, shame, guilt, acceptance, power, recognition etc. The pawns, each circularly shaped and embossed with a role/operation designation—King=ego, Queen=selfhood, Rook=intent, Bishop= Value, Knight =Will, Pawns=choices, value — are given the alikeness of the game’s pieces, both on the side of the active player and the waiting opponent, it is almost inevitable that the perceived ownership of each piece will dissolve into uncertainty as the game progresses.

The game intends to mediate one’s intimate conditioning by reflecting on dialectical fragilities of selfhood, its semiotic landscapes and one’s intimate urges to curate the subconscious. Perhaps, by attempting to taxonomies and structure the irrational Chess of Rites offers its players the safe specs where imagination and thought-styles are negotiated, questioned and translated through meditative playfulness with one’s own individuality.