Perspective of origami for NonFolders, now and in the future

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Perspective of origami for NonFolders, now and in the future

Postby NeverCeaseToCrease » January 8th, 2018, 6:14 am

Hello origamists!

Quite a long title, huh? Then get ready for a long post.
I've been thinking about this for a while and I would like to hear the opinion of other folders.

I predict that in the future, so many things, like furniture, architecture, robots, etc, will be "origami inspired," that society will forget what origami actually is.

I'm not necessarily trying to state this as a negative thing, but does it feel like to anybody else that whenever something can fold up or is made of polygons instead of curves, the internet describes it as "origami-inspired" or "uses the principles of origami?"

First of all, I encourage you to look up "origami inspired furniture" on google images. You will find pictures of sleek, modern, shelves, tables, chairs, etc. They look nice, right? Futuristic. Cool. Hipster.

Then look at this article: https://pixel77.com/25-amazing-origami-inspired-designs/ . Again, don't those buildings look like the homes of the future? Just take a second to imagine yourself living and waking up in one of those structures.

As for the robots, I'm sure you've all seen them by now. My mom's friends have sent her MIT articles about them for her to show me countless times. Some of those articles describe the robots as if they are going to revolutionize the world (which they might) in the name of "the principles of origami."

These three examples are only a portion of what is and will be inspired by origami, and the popularity of these hipster futuristic design styles is only going to get more and more mainstream. But so what? Who cares if society likes making everything triangular instead of round? What does it matter if robots will be able to fold and unfold themselves?

Because all of the above mentioned things aren't actually origami. Do those chairs look like a crane or a Satoshi Kamiya model? Obviously not, but it's still a fair point. Things that are actually origami like traditionals or Satoshi Kamiya models will be replaced by things only origami inspired. Furthermore, how are those chairs "origami inspired?" Some of those chairs aren't even folding chairs! At that point, the only thing that those non-folding chairs have in common with origami is that they both are ploygonal (which is essentially anything made of shapes). Without a clear boundary of what is origami-inspired and what isn't, there is a risk for anything, like honeycombs or diamond rings, to be considered "origami-inspired." Another thing, when was the last time you saw a geometric Satoshi Kamiya model? After researching about Papertrophy and other paper craft, I've realized that those furniture objects are more inspired by paper craft than origami. So even if people can tell the difference between origami and paper craft, can people tell the difference between "origami inspired" and "paper craft inspired?"


Now, please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that "origami inspired" things are bad. The furniture and architecture look beautiful, and I'm sure that those clever robots will be mainstream in the future. What I am saying, is that origami is at risk of society misconceiving what it is.



Do you agree or disagree with me? Any other thoughts?
Regardless whether or not you agree, one thing is for certain. The public opinion of origami is going to change. When this happens, what will our perspective be? What is origami to us now?
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Re: Perspective of origami for NonFolders, now and in the fu

Postby Gerardo » January 9th, 2018, 1:52 pm

This are my two cents. Hopefully others can share more insightful answers :).

The general public has had a limited perspective regarding origami for decades, relating origami to just a few popular traditional models. "Origami" is very broad, folded surfaces with relative creativity is origami. In that sense I do see many of the "origami inspired designs" as actually origami inspired. Eventhough they can't fold I'm able to imagine how can I make some of those folds with paper. Know what I mean? I can't relate it to some models but I can to others, like this one for example: https://www.flickr.com/photos/62572859@N08/9743088544

I personally think that origami inspired design will simply promote the limited perspective of origami that already exists, so there won't be much of a difference.

That's my perspective :).
Last edited by Gerardo on January 9th, 2018, 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Perspective of origami for NonFolders, now and in the fu

Postby Froy » January 9th, 2018, 6:24 pm

People is already forgetting where everything comes from.

Art, in special, have been suffering this for a long time. Humanity had the greatest artist of the Renaissance whose paintings are sold by millions of dollars and now days we have a bunch of nobodies that sell some strokes of paint in a canvas for the same million dollars. Music is going thru the same.

Artist or creators no longer care about the past as long they feel they are selling something they thing is good, new or innovative, forgetting all the effort a lot of masters had to put before as basis.
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Re: Perspective of origami for NonFolders, now and in the fu

Postby MotherOfThree » January 9th, 2018, 9:58 pm

I think there is also the aspect of subjectivity, which is naturally involved in any kind of arts and its perception in public, not only in origami. This begins at some artworks, on the one hand being minimalistic, but though realistic to one person, but on the other making other people judging them as nonsense. For example, the traditional crane could be interpreted as pretty much any kind of bird, at least for someone not knowing it is a crane. Or specific pieces of modern art (soup cans, paintings of colored rectangles, whatever...) which are technically trivial, but can, in a special context, have personal attitudes or history involved for some interpreters. But this is my (subjective) opinion about this, someone else could, and of course will, have different opinions.

Also, everything, including art in general, as well as origami in specific, is changing over time, and some will say that it loses its artistic aspect, but in, let's say, 50 more years there will be things we couldn't even imagine today, and this is an absolutely natural societal and technical evolution, just as natural as human skepticism against it.

I'm getting too philosophical, so I'll get back to origami.
As Gerardo said, the broad opinion about origami is like "some unrealistic geometric folded stuff made by children", so it's obvious that some clever marketing strategists say like "Let's call this fancy chair 'origami related', it sounds futuristic". Don't get me wrong, there's nothing to say against fancy chairs or clever marketing agents at all. However, it is a raw generalization, which desperates some of us (being far more experienced about origami and it's aesthetic aspects).
Even within origami community, some people are using scissors, glue, and non-square paper shapes (which has always been done in origami history as far as I know), while others insist on using a single uncut square, either as a challenge or as a non-negotiable rule. Origami isn't only super complex and ultra-realistic, not only minimalistic or pure art or design, math, tessellation, or whatever else can be considered as origami by anyone, (including futuristic furniture, paper craft and foldable robots), nor that what future will bring about it, it rather is the compound of all these aspects. And if I feel like folding DNA segments in my biochemical laboratories, and call this origami, what's bad about it?

Regarding this subjective continuum of understandings, generalizations cannot be avoided, certainly not by people who lack deeper knowledge of something, may it be origami or anything, especially of broad categories like art, which consists of different views and their collision.

What I want to tell you isn't "Don't talk about things you do not understand", or "This topic is useless, there is no solution". It's important to do conversation about it, and every opinion is worth to be appreciated. Just don't see your view as the only correct one. That includes this complete post, being my subjective notion, and makes the whole snake swallow its own tail.
To conclude this (it's getting weirdly long, actually), don't mind about nearly everything polygonal being "origami-related". Public misconceiving isn't avoidable, nor intentional.
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Re: Perspective of origami for NonFolders, now and in the fu

Postby NeverCeaseToCrease » January 12th, 2018, 1:22 am

Thank you all for contributing to this enlightening discussion! :)

I was looking for an example, and I've found it now to illustrate what I'm saying.

First, let me ask you a question. Everybody recognizes the word chocolate and has probably tasted it before, so I ask you, what is chocolate?

Most people would say that chocolate is a type of candy, usually brown and sweet, sometimes soft. Often associated with Valentines Day or cheering up.

If you look up "etymology of chocolate," google will tell you that it first came from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. It will also tell you that the word originates from French and Spanish, but that's only because the colonists brought it home to Europe and called it the name the Aztecs gave it.

Additionally, the Aztec's (and Mayan's) chocolate was very different from today's chocolate. It was called "bitter water," but at the same time, "the food of the gods." The Aztecs used the beans as money sometimes, and drinking chocolate was a luxury that only rich Aztecs could do. When they did, they drank it from a golden goblet, then threw the goblet away afterwards! It was also used for religious ceremonies, and painted on temple walls.

Why am I telling you these strange traditions? Because imagine how strange origami will sound in the future! We can't say what the future holds, but if origami becomes a part of many robots, furniture, and architecture, wouldn't it be strange to think that origami used to be only for paper (the way chocolate used to be only for rich people)?

So, MotherOfThree, what's wrong with calling DNA folding origami? Because origami means "fold paper," and DNA is definitely not paper. It takes away the name from origami and the people that fold paper. Calling something the name of something else is like taking the Aztec's land and calling it a Spanish colony. Or like taking a sacred drink from a golden goblet and turning it into a sweetened, solidified, lump in a plastic wrapper; then using the same name as if they were the same thing. Not that I don't like folding DNA, but I think that it should be called something else, like フォールド分子 (fold molecule).

Anyways, the Aztecs and their chocolate were 500 years ago. I think Origami will be fine for a while.
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Re: Perspective of origami for NonFolders, now and in the fu

Postby Gerardo » January 15th, 2018, 3:01 pm

Very interesting thoughts NeverCeasetoCrease :). The way that I see it, while societies continue existing, there will be non-folders and an origami community, so the folding of models won't be obliterated. Know what I mean? Now, origami will probably change within as well as outside our community. During the last decades origami models have changed a lot, as well as its "rules". For example, many of us have currently started folding other materials different from paper. That constant process of change within the practice will continue as origamists keep on pushing the boundaries and explore new ideas.

As for non-folders, they will probably continue learning the most popular traditional models (traditional boat, paper airplanes, fortune teller, jumping frog, etc.) as kids from family members, teachers, or other kids. They will probably also get accostumed to hear that the mentioned tools, furniture, architecture, are "origami inspired". That can probably give them a different understanding of "origami" from ours, but I insist, non-folders already have a different understanding from ours. Right? That was actually why you started this thread for example: viewtopic.php?f=12&t=14498
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