Tayiba Sulaiman

Alternative Selves – Jigsaw Prompts

Our Digital Poets in Residence for April, Jenny Danes and Tayiba Sulaiman, centred their residency around an idea they have called ‘alternative selves’.

Tayiba writes:

Jenny and I centred our residency around an idea we’ve been calling ‘alternative selves’. It’s essentially the idea that every so often, you get a little glimpse of the ways other people perceive you differently to the way you perceive yourself. This goes for other people too; we were generally interested in that strange dissonance in the way two ‘versions’ of the same person compare.

To unpack the idea slightly, we came up with a list of places for spotting these different versions; Jenny then drew it out as a puzzle. The pieces are numbered.

If you’d like a prompt at random, pick a number between 1 and 18, and see what those alternatives might look, sound and feel like. There are two spaces for any extra ones which come to mind.

Alt text: the back of the jigsaw. The central tile is coloured blue. It reads ‘All your other selves’. Prompts with ideas of where you might see alternative versions of a person are on the surrounding tiles. There’s a list below. Two of the tiles are left blank.

Jigsaw key code (if you pick a number, this is what it corresponds to)

  1. Your previous nicknames
  2. The version of yourself in other people’s dreams
  3. Sculptures/waxworks/snowmen
  4. People with the username you wanted
  5. People who get mistaken for you
  6. Reflections in mirrors/shop windows/people’s eyes
  7. Twins you swallowed in the womb
  8. The version of yourself in your dreams
  9. Your childhood photos
  10. Mispronounced you
  11. The you who comes up with amazing lines after an argument
  12. All the lies you’ve ever told about yourself
  13. Misremembered you
  14. Paintings or drawings of you
  15. People with the same name as you
  16. Doppelgängers
  17. Misquoted you
  18. Your social media presence

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