The cover of Adjacent’s Second issue is a hand-drawn jigsaw puzzle I made of ten pieces. Each is mapped to an article in the issue. The individual pieces that fit with one another represent the articles that the editorial team found share a strong common concept. And, as you can see, there’s more than one way to solve this puzzle.
Because of the way the puzzle was constructed, using a tiling strategy à la M.C. Escher or Nervous System, it has no predefined edges, no specific orientation, and it can have thousands of possible configurations. Any piece can be at the center, and every piece can fit in multiple places, together with its corresponding neighbors.
Creating this map-puzzle was a puzzle in itself. It was a human-algorithm collaboration.
A conceptual matrix was created with the help of the human editors to determine the relationships between the articles, and locate the strongest links.
To make the map, to literally materialize the concept, I used the graph of these articles’ relationships as vertices and their connections as edges. Finding the optimal arrangement required both algorithmic and manual input. The goal was to place the articles on a plane in such a way that all their connections would be satisfied without cancelling or obstructing others. This process also included foreseeing the tessellation process that would link the pieces beyond the original edges.
Afterwards, the pieces were drawn, one by one, by hand and with the help of a computer, so that previously drawn elements would inform the shape of the newly created ones.
Finally, I made the final puzzle with the help of a laser cutter, and then re-digitized and animated it using a camera and computer.
This puzzle is a physical exploration of the contents of this issue, and an homage to all the possible readings that can be obtained from it as a whole. The Adjacent staff has found the puzzle to be an engaging, intriguing experience…and has wasted precious time trying to come up with new configurations!