For decades we laboured under the misapprehension that, while computers and other electronic goods are ripe for the hacking, jigsaw puzzles remained sadly hacker-proof. It turns out we were wrong. While the perennial rainy day activity might not immediately conjure associations with mashup culture, puzzles are actually a pretty perfect fit.
Washington-based artist and computer scientist Tim Klein discovered that jigsaw manufacturers often use the same die cut pattern when producing different puzzles. Which means, row-by-row and column-by-column, jigsaw pieces are interchangeable across multiple puzzles. Klein, who prefers to work with retro illustrated jigsaws, has dedicated his time to tracking down vintage puzzles and producing incongruous combinations (all of which are available to purchase from his online store). Waterfalls cascade out of car grilles; teddy bears wear armour made out of Budweiser; and Tutankhamun becomes half truck.
And it turns out Klein isn’t the only puzzle pasticher out there. Professor Mel Andringa works on a grander scale to create mosaics that combine up to six different jigsaws. And for a more random, analog ‘glitch-art’ approach, there is the work of U.K. artist Geraint Edwards.
So next time you find yourself reaching for the hammer to make a jigsaw piece fit, maybe just find one in another set.