Posts by Glenna Batson

Origami in Nature – the beauty of scale

Folding is nature’s most common way of making patterns. The action of folding is simple enough, but the dynamics within the action are infinitely varied.  They turn a mechanical concept into a process. A simple fold displays a range of dynamics and depth. If we take a moment to pause and gaze at any fold, a perceptual duet emerges. We begin to entrain to the energetic vitality of design before us. Within moments, a static line yields, comes alive in the interplay of light and shadow. Creases lengthen and deepen, shimmer and flow.   Our perceptions can magically shift from habitual
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CONVERGENCE – where material science meets biological folding

CONVERGENCE – where material science meets biological folding When two diverse sciences converse, they either widen their divide or unearth some gems of syncretism. Physicists at the University of Syracuse have discovered correlations between the material forces of glass making and embryonic morphogenesis. In an interview in Quanta magazine, associate professor of physics, Lisa Manning discusses this phenomenon. Manning and her colleagues were intrigued by the phase transitions of glass formation, those moments when the fluid (molten) state of glass shifts to a solid state. The team noted the possible relationship between the actions of physical forces during this fluid-to-solid phase transitionand
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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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