Thursday, March 12, 2009

Organic Circle-fold

Faced with a Circle, one draws a blank. Where to start? The shape is too symmetric: a blind eye. How, where, will you find different parts in this Unity? And supposing you do: what creases can you put in, that will possibly preserve anything of the circle's original circularity?

Some of these problems, as it happens, are faced by living forms as well. By the fertilized ovum, a single pregnant cell, or by its descendant the blastula, the nearly homogenous sphere of 1000 or so identical cells. These too must divide or fold, to create form. The sphere in nature solves its problem, breaks its symmetry—by gravity perhaps, telling it which side is up and which down, or by some accidental imperfection on its perimeter. In the blastula a fold line arises (the ridge of it assuming special significance later on) and the whole magic of gastrulation begins: nature's origami on steroids. And then differentiation, growth of the different regions can proceed, each part developing according to its own strict rules.

I tried something similar with this circle, making the most obvious division and then applying the most obvious distinct pattern-folds to each part.

The resultant form is ‘organic’ --- reminiscent of how organs emerge in plants and animals, with intimations of branching and budding and leafing and embryo-curling. ‘Organic’ too in the sense more usual in art, of a thing that is like a living form but is not specifically representational.

Curve-folds, and corrugations generally, have this quality that is present in some but not all origami: in principle you can see all the folds at once. There is nothing tucked away, nothing up your sleeves--there are no sleeves. The magic is all out in the open. So the continuity that is key to origami's aesthetic, the sense that the thing is an integral whole despite all its details, is even more apparent than usual. That too can help make an origami shape seem more "organic".

So, this is one thing that can be done with a Circle. What else can?

Related Posts:
Concentric Circles (March 2008)
Huffmanesque (January, 2009)
Sphere-from-a-Circle  (May, 2009)