“Zugzwang,” 2023, Colored pencil, graphite, and gesso on paper, 81.5 x 67.75 inches
The structure of this work is derived from the chess positions in Game 6 between Garry Kasparov and IBM’s Deep Blue in 1997. This set of games is often viewed as a sea change moment, when arti cial intelligence asserted conclusive dominance over human intellect.
The nal position in this chess match, speci cally after move 19, C4, marked a turning point. Analysis showed that at this stage, Kasparov had lost the game, though he did not recognize it. This moment seemed analogous to the concept of “Zugzwang” in chess, where a player is forced to make a move, often to their disadvantage. In this case, Kasparov had no possible move and was forced to resign.
To me, this particular moment within this particular game seemed equivalent to a Thucydides Trap, a principle where an emerging force challenges and destabilizes an existing dominant power, causing disorientation and leading to the escalation of confrontation. The evolving patterns of this chess match marked the incremental transformation that was taking place (like a phase change), invisible to all but the AI: as each piece moved, the transition from human to machine dominance became evident but not understood by the human being.