What you don’t know about origami

The relevance of origami in the modern economy can be found from the glove compartment of a car to the machinery in outer space. The origins of origami lie in mathematical concepts. This is a growing notion that has not only expanded its form in art, but also its function in modern life.

On Monday, Lafayette hosted esteemed origami artist Robert J. Lang’s presentation on the modern and scientific application of folding Origami.

Highlights of his presentation included the discussion of a recent creation of a map of Venice. Using innovative origami techniques, which include deployable factors, the map can be opened at any one fold with all other folds moving along with it, eliminating the hassle of disorganized papers.

This same basic concept was also applied to numerous space projects, such as the James Webb Space Telescope. Upon launching into space, the telescope folds in on itself, enabling quick and easy travel. Such origami designs allow space equipment to be “small for the journey and large at the destination,” Lang said.

Lang’s presentation was centered around the misconception that origami is an art form utilized merely for culturally infused crafts. He demonstrated, however, just how complex the process of folding is.

Lang used only one sheet of paper, three folding steps, and mathematical formulas to explain how an artist can create anything from the tessellations of a geometric pattern. The outcome? An intricately detailed body of a praying mantis.

Origami artists across the globe similarly display their aptitude for folding such amazingly conceived pieces in the “Bug Wars,” a creative faceoff for which origami owes a large amount of its popularity to. Lang explains that in the “Bug Wars,” individuals compete to create the most advanced and complex models of bugs as humanly possible.

Lang’s documentary Between the Folds further elaborates this heavily mathematized, groundbreaking process. Origami artists are far from craft-makers – the form is artistic, yet required in so much of modern living and discovery.