Restraining visual mediums?

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Restraining visual mediums?

Postby Gerardo » July 5th, 2017, 9:05 pm

(First of all, I couldn't make up my mind if this thread should be here or in the "General Origami Talk" subforum. If I actually posted it in the wrong subforum could a moderator please move it to the right place... so sorry)

I might be wrong but I belief origami is a restraining expressive medium unlike traditional visual mediums like painting or carving for example. What I mean with that is that when inventing through origami, as a figurative medium, its harder to make something discernible. That has taken me to sometimes ask people what do they see, when I show them my work, in order to know if I satisfied my intention or not. Know what I mean? Now I'm not saying that it's impossible to make something easily discernible through origami, just that it's harder, compared to painting and carving among others. That's why I used the word "restraining" instead of "limited" for example.

Am I right to make that particular distinction between origami and other visual mediums or am I looking at it all the wrong way? Do you know about any other visual mediums that are also restraining in the way I described?

I'd love to learn more about all this from your answers :).
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Re: Restraining visual mediums?

Postby Kabuntan » July 6th, 2017, 6:30 am

But aren't painting and sculpture also restrained in the same way?

For instance, a minimalist drawing (just a few brush strokes) might represent something for the artist, but it can be difficult for someone else to understand what it is supposed to be.

So that'd be the same as for a minimalist origami model, don't you think?
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Re: Restraining visual mediums?

Postby roodborst » July 6th, 2017, 7:03 pm

I usually show my model too my three year old. If I made a horse and she says it is a giraffe the model is just not good enough. Same goes for my woodcarvings. If she says the face is blowing while I tried too make the face like it was giving a kiss it just isn't good enough. I think you made this topic because of your "mountain/ sea" design. Too be honest. If you have too ask what people see in it you should design it better. At least that is how I think about it.

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Re: Restraining visual mediums?

Postby Gerardo » July 7th, 2017, 5:12 am

Thank you guys. Very interesting stuff!

Is making a detailed drawing just like creating a detailed model? I thought it was curious that in roodborst's example there's ambiguety between a horse and a giraffe in the case of origami but in woodcarving it's between a person giving a kiss and a person blowing. Know what I mean?

Many models in origami aren't detailed. I'd say many of them tend to be ambiguous.

About your last comment roodborst, I share a similar idea but it goes like this: if others don't recognize it as what I intend then it needs work. As a side note, not everything that I originally make in origami is a legitimate model, some are just doodles.
Last edited by Gerardo on July 7th, 2017, 2:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Restraining visual mediums?

Postby roodborst » July 7th, 2017, 7:11 am

I guess you could compare drawing and origami. I could draw a simple smiley and you would recognize it instantly as a humanlike face smiling. But if I show you the mona lisa. You would also recognize it as a human face smiling. Just with a incredible detail. Both are are "good" designs. You easily see what is being portraiyed (spelling?). For origami goes the same. You can make a simple elephant or make the one by shuki kato or kamiya. Subject is easy too recognize but with more detail. Alot has too with proportions in origami. Is what I found out. What is difference between a horse and giraffe. Neck and legs are longer. Those are the trademarks and should stand out. It is one of reasons I don't like some of the baby animal designs. They just didn't get the proportions right.

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Re: Restraining visual mediums?

Postby roodborst » July 7th, 2017, 8:02 am

Another quick thought: origami has it's limits because of the one square, no cuts, no glue rules. And you can only use two colors. For some animals more color would make it easier to recognize the animal. I've seen trollip use a line in one of his models too give the idea of a colorchange where there actually was none. I believe it was his red panda. Just read his discription. I thought it was really smart.

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Re: Restraining visual mediums?

Postby Baltorigamist » July 7th, 2017, 6:34 pm

There's also the factor that not everyone may have heard of a given subject. Roodborst, if your daughter isn't particularly familiar with horses or kissing faces (or, at least, less so than with a giraffe or a "blowing" face), then she'd be less likely to recognize the fold or carving as such. I see what you're getting at, though.
I agree about proportions being off in some models, and that's why I think it's important to capture the "essence" of the subject--even if it's something most people aren't familiar with, like a mantis shrimp or a gerenuk, for example. In order for a model to be recognizable, it has to have that "feel" to it; details aren't always enough. (That's one area I struggle with, to be honest. As a detail-oriented person, I sometimes stray from the big picture.)

Gerardo, I think ambiguity exists in all art forms, and Kabuntan has a point when s/he says that minimalist art can be interpreted differently for each person (whether it's origami, drawing, etc.). As for your original question, I don't think it's harder, per se, so much as its own set of challenges (as per Roodborst's point above regarding the color limitations, among other things). It could be a lot more difficult to make a recognizable daisy (or anything with three or more colors) than it is to make, say, a fox or a German shepherd, which have both been done convincingly enough with only two colors.
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Re: Restraining visual mediums?

Postby Gerardo » July 8th, 2017, 2:21 pm

Those are great points guys!

Are there any other expressive visual mediums with explicit norms like modern origami?

Do you think, like me, that many traditional models are ambiguous? Why do you think that is?
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Re: Restraining visual mediums?

Postby roodborst » July 9th, 2017, 10:26 am

Not really a rule but with drawing and painting the medium you choose has it's advantages and disadvantages. Using pens or pencils or paint or oilpaint or crayons will get very different end results although you make the same thing over and over again. But maybe that is more like choosing the right paper in origami. Although not a visual art, some poetry follows certain rules. Like wich line has to rhyme with abother line.
With woodcarving you are limited by the size of the wood and the type of wood you use. Not all wood is good enough too carve small details.
I remember seeing "attack of kraken" years back and thinking; You can really design anything as long a your paper is big and thin enough.
Too me, the one square no cuts rule is what actually makes origami seem like magic. The fact that is was created using those limitations adds to fascination of origami. When I see a great model and then I found out it is from a rectangle, or painted or cuts where used I always feel like they cheated. But that is just the way I think about origami.

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Re: Restraining visual mediums?

Postby roodborst » July 9th, 2017, 10:31 am

As for traditional models too be more ambiguous. Origami has evolvolved over the years. Becoming more complex and more detailed. So older models are more open for interpretation. The differences between a dog and a wolf are very slim in origami. Just some subtle changes in the proportions can set them apart. The traditional crane could be any type of bird with a long neck and large wings. But look at roman diaz's crane or robert lang's and there is littke room for debate.

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Re: Restraining visual mediums?

Postby Gerardo » July 12th, 2017, 8:32 pm

Loved the connection made between origami and poetry. Had not thought about it and it makes a lot of sense. Too bad we couldn't think of another form of expressive visual mediums with explicit norms. Maybe there isn't another one.

I suppose my question about if in origami it's harder to avoid ambiguety than in other forms of expressive visual mediums is impossible to answer. That would be because it's not possible to compare one form with another. Each form takes different skills and has different characteristics. Was that what you guys were telling me :)?
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Re: Restraining visual mediums?

Postby NeverCeaseToCrease » July 13th, 2017, 2:41 am

I believe that like sports, origami and other art forms all have a learning curve, as well as a skill ceiling. For instance, sculpture has a steep learning curve. It took Michelangelo more than 5 years before he made his first 3d statue, then increasingly complex sculptures until the Tomb of Pope Julius II about 56 years later. The skill ceiling of sculpture was that he didn't sculpt any geometric things, or any spiky things like an insect.

On the other hand, origami has a pretty low learning curve. Most people can fold a crane on their first try, and if one would devote all their time to origami as Michelangelo did, they could probably improve much faster than 5 years. However, after they reach the level of using MC, homemade paper, and circle packing it's pretty hard to improve more. Origami's skill ceiling is effectively combining curves and straights to make complex and realistic 3d objects, without relying on paper thickness (which is also an issue).

In other words, the reason why origami seems more restricted than sculpture is that sculpture has (or had) more devoted artists. The sculptors like Michelangelo who have made it through the first slow, difficult part of the learning curve have continued on and created increasingly better work. With origami, there are many people who have made it through the (relatively) fast part of the learning curve, like 8617 members of this forum, but are slowly reaching our skill ceiling that restrains us from creating discernible models.

Anyways, that's just my belief.
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Re: Restraining visual mediums?

Postby Gerardo » July 14th, 2017, 3:41 pm

WOW... that's really enlightening. Loved it :).

There's one thing I didn't really get. OK, so I got that origami has a low learning curve, but is its skill ceiling low as well or actually high?
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Re: Restraining visual mediums?

Postby NeverCeaseToCrease » July 14th, 2017, 11:13 pm

Honestly, I'm not sure... I think I confused myself :roll:
Also, I think everybody has a different skill ceiling, which means it could be at different heights for different people.
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Re: Restraining visual mediums?

Postby Gerardo » July 17th, 2017, 9:14 pm

I might be wrong but I think in origami it's more common to see models replicating what already exists, for example animals. Even when someone creates a model of an imaginary creature, for example, it's based on an image the origamist had seen. Know what I mean? In other expressive visual mediums, people many times try out totally original concepts that pop out straight from their minds. Surrealist paintings are an example of what I'm talking about.

I think this is because origamists try to reduce ambiguety this way. What do you guys think?

NeverCeaseToCrease wrote:Honestly, I'm not sure... I think I confused myself :roll:
Also, I think everybody has a different skill ceiling, which means it could be at different heights for different people.

Oh, I I see. I had not understood that :oops:.
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