The Fitful Flog

August 8, 2009

Origami for the People

Wilhelmine with origami

This is Wilhelmine, quondam Princess of Prussia and Margravine of Bayreuth, holding one of Kalami‘s models — and this works for me in a number of ways. One, the color is dead on, really on. Two, Wilhelmine would have totally dug it — she was a bluestocking, a lady polymath, and the mathematics and beauty of Kalami‘s folding would have warmed the cockles of her somewhat complicated heart. And thirdly, putting origami out in the world, out in front of people, is so very cool.

(Cockles, here, are ventricles — that doesn’t show up in most dictionaries and I’d give up looking for it, if I were you.)

It is true that origami is art. But so are so many things. You can place your models in a frame, hang them on the wall, put them in galleries — yes, this is the way we treat art in the world, we curate it. There’s nothing wrong with that, per se: it’s a good way to present the work and a good way to say to the world, “Hey, this is some serious art going on!” But for me, this is to lose an important aspect of origami. A lot of origami is its ephemeral nature and a lot of it is the sharing.

Lately, I’ve been sticking my afternoon commute work in alleyways in my city and watching what happens to it. Some of it disappears, but I can tell from the patterns in the dust, it’s been removed with care, someone is taking it home. So, I replace the model. And it disappears again. This is a conversation of sorts. Not a very intelligent one — reminds me of trading for tin with the red paint people — but a real one, nevertheless.

Mélisande* and I did some guerrilla origami in New York — she writes about it here. It was a hell of a lot of fun. And when I read on Kalami’s blog about how she’s been unleashing her work, I know exactly what she means. There needs to be more of this.

And there can be — want to play? We’ve started a new group on Flickr — because we’re convinced there are simply not enough groups on Flickr — and you can join. Joining Flickr is free (mostly) and the only rule we have (so far) is that you geotag your photo before you add it to the group. This will allow us to see the contributions on a map. We have dreams of seeing little origami installations all over this globe.

Go, dream, fold, install.

3 Responses to “Origami for the People”

  1. 1
    chocolategirl64 Says:

    give origami to the people
    If I see someone reading a book without a bookmark, I fold one for them and place it on the corner of the page
    brings a smile ~_~

  2. 2
    Untalgregorio Says:

    I liked the idea, let’s see if we can continue it here

    a hug from this traduccionpo google

  3. 3
    TamTam » Origami para la gente Says:

    […] Origami for the people es un grupo de Flickr organizado por varios plegadores que invita a dejar un origami como regalo en un lugar público y documentarlo con una foto. // […]

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