John Cage and Marcel Duchamp playing a game of chess together—it’s a great image by itself, but it becomes more remarkable once you realize that the chess board is being used to make music.
You can read about this performance, about Cage’s relationship with Duchamp, and a lot more by checking out this article at Tout-Fait:
Actually, Cage hadn’t lost every single [chess] match with Duchamp. There was one that he definitely won, after a fashion. It happened in Toronto, in 1968. Cage had invited Duchamp and Teeny [Duchamp, Marcel’s wife, aka Alexina] to be with him on the stage. All they had to do was play chess as usual, but the chessboard was wired and each move activated or cut off the sound coming live from several musicians (David Tudor was one of them). They played until the room emptied. Without a word said, Cage had managed to turn the chess game (Duchamp’s ostensive refusal to work) into a working performance. […] Playing chess that night extended life into art – or vice versa. All it took was plugging in their brains to a set of instruments, converting nerve signals into sounds. Eyes became ears, moves music.Reunion was the name of the piece.
Thanks to Antoine from Presqu’île Records for posting the photo.