Each one of us is alone in the world. We seek pitifully to convey to others the treasures of our heart, but they have not the power to accept them, and so we go lonely, side by side but not together, unable to know our fellows and unknown by them.
— W. Somerset Maugham
People think differently. Conversations with friends of varied backgrounds and cultures reveal that one word might elicit a different reaction or idea from everyone. We think individually, but exist as a unit. Just as irregular forms in a jigsaw puzzle fit together to form an orderly square.
For my Visual Thesis project PUZZLED, I chose to explore this visually. With the jigsaw puzzle as a guiding metaphor, I invited my classmates to give me their first thought when they heard the word puzzled. My project is the visual interpretation of their descriptions, as each image is an illustration of their individual response.
This is not only the story of different individuals and the way they interpret a situation or feeling, but like pieces of a puzzle, these images come together to be viewed as one cohesive image.
Like Confucius says “Gentleman seek harmony but not uniformity, we were born different but united”.
Neko: The behavior of a cat is a puzzle for me. I never know what it wants or how it feels to me. Because of the mysterious behavior of cats, which is unpredictable, I have a strong interest in this kind of creature.
Yadi: The first feeling is dizziness, a state of stagnation and solidification, but at the same time, accompanied by many other small things moving around and climbing, like insects.
Katya: Once, I was walking with my dog and lost him. He ran away somewhere. I was looking for the dog everywhere, behind different buildings, trees, and bushes. I was calling for him and asking people if they saw my dog. After an hour of searching, I still couldn’t find him. I felt very puzzled and upset. I didn’t know what to do.
Anthony: Puzzles make me think of pathways. The lines in between the puzzle pieces represent the different avenues a person can take for finding solutions. There is not one path, but many twists and turns and many paths connecting to each other and forming as one. If you look at a puzzle as a metaphor for life, it is not only a single image made up of many different pieces, in the way that life is made up of many pieces, but there are also the many pathways in between those pieces that we all navigate.
Mara: The Big Bang. I’ve heard of so many descriptions and stories about how the world came to be about. All of them somehow ultimately lead me to a think of single image. For me, the Big Bang happens when a firecracker is lit up. Galaxies, stars, and lives are born at every spark and flicker. And in no more than a minute, everything evaporates and vanishes. When another firecracker is lit, another Big Bang happens again.
Andy: Playing the Legend of Zelda with my grandmother. Drawing maps and guides of the dungeons, solving the puzzles in order to find hidden treasure.
Nina: Puzzle reminds me of moving to the United States and figuring out new things. Like trains and subways.
Carlos: Someone’s behavior has suddenly changed and I can’t figure out what’s going on.