New York Times

Swiss Artist’s Installation: Folding a Life-Size Origami Elephant Out of a Single Sheet of Paper

Folding a Life-Size Origami Elephant Out of a Single Sheet of Paper  

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Swiss artist Sipho Mabona will use the template for this origami elephant to create a life-size version.
Courtesy of Sipho Mabona

Origami has always been an artform that’s fun to watch. But now one Swiss artist is attempting to elevate the concept of origami as performance art with an Indiegogo campaign to help him realize his whimsical ambition to fold a life-size elephant from a single sheet of paper.

The Lucerne-based Sipho Mabona folded his first paper airplane at age 5 and has since made a career producing stunning origami animalsroses, human figures, and insects, among other more abstract creations. He has shown his work and taught origami workshops around the world.

Now the 33-year-old artist is appealing to Indiegogo’s crowdfunding angels to help him realize his ambition of folding a life-size elephant out of a single sheet of 50-by-50 foot paper.* (So far he’s raised $13,843 of his $24,000 goal with three weeks to go.) Mabona says his aim is to show what a single sheet of paper can do by using it to create a replica of one of the world’s most imposing land-dwelling creatures.

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A crease pattern used to fold the elephant took a month to work out.
Courtesy of Sipho Mabona

Mabona told me by phone that he developed the pattern for the elephant in about a month, a process that was sped up by having already worked out how to make patterns for origami tigers, bears, and rhinos. He said that his process is a combination of precise geometry and artistic intuition. To make a work of origami, he makes all the folds in the paper before refolding along the crease lines to assemble a finished 3-D object. The beauty of a piece of paper with intricate crease lines has also inspired him to produce crease patterns as wall art and ceramic plates.

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The crease pattern used to make the elephant is a work of art in its own right.
Courtesy of Sipho Mabona

The artist said that this is the most ambitious project he has ever attempted. “I’ve never folded anything larger than 6-by-6 meters [20-by-20 feet],” Mabona said. “But in principle the whole folding part stays pretty much the same. I’m not too worried about the beginning, the folding of the base. But the transitions, the shaping of the body and making it three dimensional—that’s what I’m worried about.”

Mabona expects the process will take about two weeks. The project will require three assistants and the elephant will be shored up by an aluminum frame and sealed with white acrylic paint. He plans to set up in a local art venue and provide a live online video stream of the process. If all goes well, he hopes to repeat the performance in other venues.

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Swiss artist Sipho Mabona with a baby elephant
Courtesy of Sipho Mabona

Check out this video to learn more about the project and for a glimpse of the giant crease pattern that will be used to make the elephant.

*Correction, Dec. 16, 2013: This post originally misstated the dimension of the paper being used to make the elephant. It is 50-by-50 feet, not meters.

 

Kristin Hohenadel is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in the New York Times,Fast CompanyVogueElle DecorLonny, and Apartment Therapy.

Walk Through Green Space Could Help Put Brain In State Of Meditation, Study Finds

Entering a more ‘zen’ mindset could be as easy as taking a walk in the park, according to a small new study.

New research from scientists at Heriot-Watt University in the U.K. conducted mobile brain electrical activity testing on volunteers to find that the brain enters a meditative state when going through green spaces.

The findings have “implications for promoting urban green space as a mood-enhancing environment for walking or for other forms of physical or reflective activity,” they wrote in the study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The study included 12 healthy adults who walked through three kinds of environments in Edinburgh while being hooked up to mobile electroencephalography devices (which tracked their emotions). They took a 25-minute walk through a city shopping street, through a green space, and on a street in a busy business area. The mobile electroencephalography tracked emotions including frustration, meditation, short-term and long-term excitement, and engagement.

Researchers found that feelings of meditation were the highest when the study participants were going through the green space, as well as less frustration, long-term excitement and engagement.

The New York Times reported that the findings don’t mean the green space triggered spacing out — rather, the engagement required to walk through a green space is more “effortless,” study researcher Jenny Roe told the publication.

“It’s called involuntary attention in psychology. It holds our attention while at the same time allowing scope for reflection,” Roe told the Times.

And taking a walk in the park or a hike outdoors is good for our brains in more ways than one — the University of Washington reports that spending time in nature helps to conquer mental fatigue and even boost cognitive functioning.

For more benefits of being outdoors, click through the slideshow:

via Walk Through Green Space Could Help Put Brain In State Of Meditation, Study Finds.