The soul is what has folds and is full of folds – Gilles Deleuze
What is Human Origami?
Human Origami is the exploratory study of body folding through movement. Folding is the biological thrust of pattern-making, not only how we got here, but how we continue to grow throughout life.
Human Origami is an ongoing initiative in practice research that combines living anatomy with art making. Revisiting folding patterns through embodied movement processes is a practice memory and discovery of new pathways for expression and creativity. Working alone or collaboratively, these improvised movement explorations uncover intersections between art, dance, music/sound, phenomenology and human developmental science.
Folding can occur in all matter and material. In Human Origami, we not only explore gesture and movement, but also partner with paper and fabric, sound and other multi-media.
The essence of Human Origami is to uncover the mysteries of human potential as expressed beyond the personal boundaries of regular space-time. Through a non-linear process, people enter into a state of fractal consciousness. These explorations shed light on a range of embodied knowledge that relates to art and science of human perception.
Glenna Batson evolved Human Origami first through exploring her own movement practice.
Glenna’s Story: In 2014, I came across the work of phenomenologist Gilles Deleuze. I was inspired by his phrase, ‘The smallest unit of matter is not the point, but the fold’, (The Fold 1993). I began to improvise on this theme within my own movement practice through a somatic lens – led by a multi-sensory exploration of depth. Each fold seemed limitless. I began to embody how the fold could lead me into a liminal world of fractal consciousness – one where no matter how small the scale, the resulting space and potential seemed infinite. I realized these fractal topologies offered insight into a range of non-linear, non-literal processes that helped the body become more fluid.
While in London, I met dance and multi-media artist, Susan Sentler. Together, we launched a series of events with a small group of conservatory dance students, as well as with the lay public. We created a sensory-rich, iterative, and immersive environment that enabled movers to engage deeply with their own bodies through sensory awareness and movement. The work migrated beyond conventional ways of perceiving and thinking into a new process of dance making. It was at that point that I began to call the work, Human Origami.
Susan’s Story: I had been working with Glenna within the realm of exploring creative processes. When she approached me with her idea of going into ‘folding’, I was immediately excited by the possibilities and the desire to work with her again. I see and sense ‘folding’ everywhere, and have delighted in archiving our research. I continuously collect images (those of my own, and those from a whole host of visual artists) that may assist, align, and archive our explorations. These embodied folded images, I believe, contain layers of textures, landscapes, environments and details that can help nest the journeys of exploration before, during, and after.
Exploring the movement dynamics of macro- and micro-folding is a somatic experience. It allows access to one’s inner world, into smaller, and more detailed and discrete, inner life. There is no limit to the dimension of depth. Folding is an act of becoming whose value goes beyond aesthetics into fuller, richer relationships – with self, others and the world. Beyond personal value, Human Origami has nodes of correspondence with processes in biological science, such as human embryonic development (pre-natal life) and bio-tensegrity.
From London, I returned to the States in 2015 and continued the work through a series of collaborations with soundscape artist, Jude Casseday. Jude’s artistic layering of sound became a portal for a new aural experience, one as embodied as movement itself. Folded sound became its own form of folded matter. These soundscapes became long movement forms in folding and unfolding the body in partnership with fabrics and textures.
Jude’s Story: I was intrigued by the various qualities of a fold and how these qualities could be rendered in sound. Soundwaves, rising and falling of pitches, overlapping of voices, long reverb tails, audio filters, and room acoustics presented themselves as possible sound folding techniques. These are what I am exploring in Audio Origami – a companion work to Glenna Batson’s Human Origami.