Data + Design Project

Playing Real-Life Tetris With Discarded Objects

Wednesday 02.27.2013 , Posted by
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Michael Johansson Real-life Tetris 1

Michael Johansson often thinks of his work as real-life Tetris. He works with discarded objects collected methodically from yard sales, flea markets… wherever people are getting rid of their “junk.” It’s the kind of work a hoarder might build if they arranged their object obsessed lives in productive, color and shape coordinated fashion.

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Johansson recently created a series of nearly perfect cubes for a show at The Flat gallery in Milan, Italy. Each of the pieces is constructed using similarly hued rectilinear objects of varying materials – from suitcases, lockboxes, to a vintage wood-paneled hi-fi set. Each is a small taste of his past work – which has occasionally grown to the size of a house or shipping container.

In rearranging these overlooked and sometimes plain objects, Johansson gives them a new life where they can be appreciated once again – this time for something far from their intended use and far more observant of their intrinsic forms.

”I take used objects because they kind of lived a life before I find them,” Johansson tells The Avant/Garde Diaries. “By combining them I almost create a fake history that never happened.”

You can see more of his work, large and small, at michaeljohansson.com.

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Benjamin Starr

Written by Benjamin Starr



Known in some circles as the most amazing man in the universe, he once saved an entire family of muskrats from a sinking, fire engulfed steamboat while recovering from two broken arms relating to a botched no-chute wingsuit landing in North Korea. When not impressing people with his humbling humility, he can be found freelance writing, finding shiny objects on the internet, enjoying the company of much-appreciated friends and living out his nomadic nature. He is Managing Editor of Visual News. Follow his movements on Twitter:

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