The Mechanical Turk

14 minute film projection, cabinet, candlestick & candle and one knight chess piece.

Video projection dims variable. Cabinet dims 496 x 345 x 345 mm.


A film of the artist as Wolfgang von Kempelen’s ‘Mechanical Turk’playing the ‘Knight's Tour’. Screened life size from the floor upwards.

In this fourteen minute film, Turk disguises himself as a life-sized 18th Century chess-playing automaton, The Mechanical Turk, whose technical wizardry was said to have outwitted even Napoleon, as this elaborate hoax toured around the most illustrious courts of Europe. The film shows Turk replaying the Knight’s Tour, a clever yet pointless circular ritual which takes the Knight across every square on the board in a mechanical mimicry of the “original” “fake”.