Wanna Puzz?

Wanna Puzz? was a social practice project engaging university students in creative place-knowing, painting, and playful cooperation. It resulted in a interactive, 185-piece jumbo jigsaw puzzle highlighting places which support wellbeing.

Stanford University’s Office of the Vice President of the Arts invited me to be the Neighborhood Visiting Artist and collaborate with Residential Education. I developed Wanna Puzz? to support social cohesion and the identity of the eight residential neighborhoods—a sprawling system which houses over 8,000 undergraduates on campus.

First, I led community mapping workshops and an open call to ask students where they felt a sense of connection, confidence, restfulness, confidence, and more. I gathered over 100 submissions from 81 students representing all eight neighborhoods. From this input, I created a map to highlight 23 places, accompanied by quotes from students as well as illustrations. I added leaves and flowers to represent the eight neighborhoods.

Next, I transferred this design to lasercut jigsaw puzzle pieces, which were painted with help from students and project team members. Finally, we invited students to assemble the 185-piece puzzle and receive holographic sticker sheets. While the earliest jigsaw puzzles were credited to a mapmaker in the seat of the British empire, this puzzle was collectively created to highlight wellbeing and encourage play and belonging.

Credit: Christine Wong Yap and contributors, Wanna Puzz?, 2023–2024, social practice (workshops, handouts, didactics, mats), 185-piece jigsaw puzzle (lasercut plywood, primer, pencil, paint, varnish, printing), holographic sticker sheets, puzzle: 80 x 108 inches; sticker sheets: 7 x 5 inches.

Huge thanks to the Office of the Vice President for the Arts (especially Deborah Cullinan, Ellen Oh, and Edi Dai) and Residential Education (especially Cole Shiflett and Simeon Pogue). Special thanks to Ellen and Edi for support at every step of the way, and for being present at numerous events around campus. Thanks to Taylor Jones and Alejandra Campillo. Thanks to all the students who came to events and contributed.

Additional thanks to Tyler “EagleBabble” Brooks, Erina Calejo, Alyssa Victoria Diaz, Claudia Dorn, and Vivan Sming. Painting assistance by Erina Davidson. Event photos by Violet Crow, Ellen Oh, Sydney Osifeso, and Christine Wong Yap. Puzzle documentation photo by Wyatt Michael Hall. Lasercutting by Pagoda Arts. Direct to substrate printing by Local Language. Sticker printing by Sticker Giant.