I had the distinct pleasure of watching Between the Folds recently and was absolutely blown away. Winner of the 2010 Peabody Award, in addition to taking the title of Official Selection at over forty-five film festivals around the world, this documentary takes all of the mundanity out of origami.
Now, first I must say that I have been a fan and practitioner of origami for as long as I can remember, and I don’t believe that there is anything mundane about it. That being said, I think it’s safe to say that most of the population probably thinks it’s a pretty banal activity. But even I, as fan and practitioner, was taken aback by the tremendous complexity and scientific implications of the world of folded paper.
The film focuses on a few origami “artists”, although most of them seem to be more philosopher, scientist, or mathimatitican than artist. One particular man makes a connection between a piece of paper folded in on itself and the structure of the known universe. There is one artist who sits down with paper and simply creates, never has he made the same thing twice. This is heady stuff.
The movie spends a little time with Erik Demaine, who I had heard about previously. Erik graduated high school at age 12, college at 14, got his PhD at 20, and was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship in 2003. He is currently a professor of Computer Science at MIT and is working toward solving many of life’s more complicated problems through the critical study of mathematical origami.
I would highly recommend watching this movie to anybody who is even slightly interested in origami, or anybody who has an open and inquisitive mind. It is not a PBS program, but can be seen on PBS from time to time. It’s also on Netflix, and is available for streaming. Watch it!