On April 21st, 2014, Scott Kildall and Bryan Cera uploaded 3D (STL) files of a set of chess pieces designed by Marcel Duchamp (1918) onto Thingiverse. Unfortunately, the project struck a nerve with the Duchamp Estate, who subsequently presented Kildal and Cera with a cease and desist letter, alleging intellectual property infringement. As the pieces were designed by Duchamp himself, and not appropriated as a readymade, they are claimed under the domain of French copyright law (although legal jurisdiction is uncertain- If the stl. files are downloaded from a U.S. server, is the printer protected under U.S. copyright law, or does the global nature of a website like Thingiverse negate site-contingent legal protection?)
Thus the inspiration for this remix was twofold:
I. The increasing popularity- in a contemporary art context- for legally enforced boundaries to be drawn around something so amorphous as an idea (intellectual property).
II. The fundamental nature of 3D printing community platforms like Thingiverse, which invite idea sharing and remediation.
These molds of the Duchamp chess pieces aim to define the limits of intellectual property law by occupying what would be the adjacent (negative) space to the legally protected volume of Duchamp's design. They also reflect the collaborative ethos of Thingiverse in that they allow for third party individuals to cast from the molds, as the title Ready-to-be-Made suggests.