The Cosmic Jigsaw - Excerpt

After going through the procedure for immortality, I became very bored. I spent decades on trivialities that were only a way to pass the time: learning the succession of monarchs, presidents, and emperors around the world, counting the bobbles on the wallpaper in my room, watching YouTube videos. The lengths I went to avoid thought were incredible. Eventually, I conceived the idea of creating a jigsaw puzzle of the earth. Categorisation creates understanding. I’ve always loved puzzles, but before that project, the biggest I’d set my mind to was two thousand pieces. I hired a warehouse and got rid of everything inside. The vast open space was intimidating when I stood in the middle of it. With enough time, it was easy to gather good quality materials for the pieces, although I’m embarrassed to say that I lost count halfway through and couldn’t be bothered to restart, meaning that I don’t know how many there were. A lot, in short. I used the optimum strategy, which is to start by turning all the pieces the right way. That way, one can work outwards from the most distinct colours. While doing so, I not only had time to listen to my favourite music but a good proportion of all music. An interesting idea for my next project would be to create an audial puzzle. I’m not quite sure how that would work- whether I could create images based on sounds, or somehow transform sound into a manipulatable substance. I was so taken by the possibilities that I almost abandoned the pieces, before having words with myself. Sometimes, having too many ideas is a kind of laziness- it means that one never has to do the disciplined, difficult work involved in putting thought into motion. I grouped the pieces by colour then re-divided them when they became too numerous. In a project of that size, ‘miscellaneous’ soon becomes impossible to manage. After completing the initial categorisation, I realised that I had a problem. My initial plan was to start with faces. However, the pieces were so small that none were recognisably anything. I spent years trying to avoid that reality, wandering through the warehouse, bending down and squinting every so often in the hope of finding a piece that would prove an exception to the rule. Eventually, I accepted that there were not going to be any short cuts. I would have to commit to working within groups of colour and seeing what emerged.
Author Mark Reece
Number of Pages 6
Format pdf
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