Posts by Glenna Batson

Coral Reefs, Memory and the Human Brain

Coral Reefs, Memory and the Human Brain   Folds confound in the many ways they can create infinite shapes. But folding provides much more than aesthetic and interesting patterns within nature. Folds ‘enfold’ biological history. They provide unique ways of storing experience. They are a biological archive of life stories that reflect the interaction of body and environment, of nature and nurture.   Recent discoveries of coral ‘skeletons’ show that these layered beauties store vast amounts of environmental information that date back thousands of years. These datastore annual records of ocean water temperatures, imprints of industrial pollutants and water conditions,
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Origami. Inspiring new anatomical paradigms

Origami paper making began in the 6th century by Japanese Buddhist monks. At that time paper was a precious commodity, so origami was reserved mainly for ritual ceremonies. By the 19th century, origami spread to the west.  Friedrich Fröbel, the founder of the kindergartens, recognized the importance of origami in developing children’s minds. In the 1920’s artist Josef Albers (father of color theory and minimalism in art) taught origami and other forms of paper folding at the Bauhaus. His work subsequently influenced other modern artists, including Japanese origami artist Kunihiko Kasahara, known for his paper creations on the cube, variations
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On Mindfulness

On Mindfulness   The play of paper origami has been called a mindful practice. Why? What is mindful about folding paper? And, why is cultivating mindfulness important?   In daily life, human beings largely operate on autopilot. The word autopilot derives from aviation. Here, technology allows for control of an aircraft without constant hands-on attention and effort. When applied to beings, however, autopilot suggests automatic -and therefore, mindless – carrying out of activity. Daily operations happen against a background of mental distraction, rumination and oblivion. The holism of body and mind is fragmented.   Mindfulness puts a full stop to
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Out of one, many

…And, out of many, one. I have fallen in love with Origami, more as an improvisational movement practice, then as the traditional paper play it is known for. And yet, I now see everyday paper trash in a new way. Tossing the newspaper into the recycle bin, I question silently, ‘is this paper now a no-thing? Is a new expression possible?  Check out this newspaper dress  – a charmingl example of how folding can transform the mundane into magic. Origami has captured the ingenuity of countless artists, engineers, and other visionaries.  Between the Folds, a PBS documentary produced in 2008, shows
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Origami. Inspiring new anatomical paradigms

Origami paper making began in the 6th century by Japanese Buddhist monks. At that time paper was a precious commodity, so origami was reserved mainly for ritual ceremonies. By the 19th century, origami spread to the west.  Friedrich Fröbel, the founder of the kindergartens, recognized the importance of origami in developing children’s minds. In the 1920’s artist Josef Albers (father of color theory and minimalism in art) taught origami paper folding at the Bauhaus. His work subsequently influenced other modern artists, including Japanese origami artist Kunihiko Kasahara, known for his simple paper cubes that conceal hidden complexity. Today, origami continues
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Human Origami and the Practice of Multiplicities

The scene: a large open studio dotted with folded shapes. Slowly, these shapes begin to shift, moving like ice floes. It’s a session in Human Origami, an improvised movement ritual of folding and unfolding. My guidance acts like spoken word, a non-prescriptive, somatic vocabulary that speaks to the body, to movement, and to memory. Musician Jude Casseday creates an electronic soundscape of harmonics that enter, exit, and re-enter, shaping the space. Movers ride on this word-and-sound bath and the spatial surround in a moving continuum. We are practicing effortlessness, a form of embodied listening where there’s no need to go
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The [not so common] Carapace

The [not so common] Carapace Lately, a number of artists have caught my eye. These artists are using specialized materials and technologies to extend human performance, inspire new aesthetics, and transform our perspective of the biological world.   Bio-engineers, visual artists, fashion designers, and, of course, origami masters, are inspired by unusual features in nature, and in the process, creating new ways of understanding the natural (and ultra-human) world. Let’s look at a couple ways this is happening.   Take the carapace… nature’s rigid shell that covers the upper (dorsal) portion of the crustaceans and arachnids (anthropods), as well as some vertebrates (turtles
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Origami – Testing the Limits of Perceiving

Perception is the force for the world’s infinite unfolding (Erin Manning, Relationscapes 2008,  81) The word perception has travelled a long linguistic journey from its earliest English language roots to today’s phenomenological and somatic meanings. To perceive finds its etymological origins in the Latin percipere, to ‘obtain, gather, seize entirely, take possession of,’ and figuratively, ‘to grasp with the mind, learn, comprehend, apprehend,’ or literally, ‘to take entirely.’ By the 19th century, the English perceive, took on a secondary meaning of an ‘intuitive or direct recognition of some innate quality.’   Now in the 21st century, thanks to contemporary philosophy
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The Folding Continuum

Continuum, from late Old English, of the arms.  Intransitive sense become doubled upon itself, 1300 c. (of the body); earlier give way, fail (mid-13c.). Sense of to yield to pressure is from late 14c.   Folding is a daily dance that largely goes on unnoticed. Our hands and bodies partner easily with the quotidian moment. Through folding, we readily create the right fit with the material world. Sometimes, we need to move like cake batter, readily relaxing into soft folds on our couch for a good read or snuggling under the bed covers.  We also alter the size and quality of our folding depending on
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The Zipless Fold

The Zipless Fold Is it a texture, or a fold of the soul, of thought? – Gilles Deleuze, The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque   Consider the zipper.  Since its initial patent by Elias Howe in 1851, The Automatic Continuous Clothing Closure, underwent 40 more years of development before Whitcomb L. Judson finally patented the workable device we know today. Brilliant in its economy of scale, the zipper readily displaced centuries of clasps and laces, buttons and bows. While these lent a certain degree of functionality to life, they were clumsy, fussy and time-consuming. Today, these interlocking double-hook sliders offer quick, easy stability and
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