The second floor of the Crow Collection of Asian Art is separated into two galleries. These are connected by a glassed-in passageway that stretches above the fountains and stairs below. For the last few years this passage was filled with hundreds of tiny origami cranes made by schoolchildren and hung in a folded paper cloud. I really liked this and was not happy to find that it was taken down. I have no idea if they are going to repeat the installation.
I wanted to ride my recumbent for some exercise but didn’t have much time. So I looked around the web for a video to watch… one that offered some interest but that wasn’t too long. Documentaries sort of meet this requirement so I found one on streaming Netflix called Between the Folds. It was a PBS film about Origami.
Other than the cranes in the Crow – and the time when Lee was about six and sent me out for a book on paper-folding – I never have thought about Origami, but the documentary was fascinating. There were artistic paper folders – from some that used thousands of folds to construct realistic sculptures to one guy that was trying to make the best work of art he could with only one fold. There were mathematicians interested in using the intersecting art and science of creased paper planes to illuminate secrets of the universe.
One of these guys, to be honest, grated on my nerves a little. He is Erik Demane and he is a second generation professor at MIT. He has that self-serving shit-eating grin that all those home-schooled, MIT genius grant winning, got my Ph.D. at twenty guys always have – or at least what they show on their PBS documentaries. He said something that really got under my skin. He talked about how he only did things that “Are Fun.” “If something isn’t fun it doesn’t interest me.”
That bugs me because I always feel that activities that are important are never “fun.” If in doubt between two courses of activities, the one that is “less fun” is always the correct one to choose. I’m not talking about relaxation or amusement or recreation – but neither was he. He was saying that he chose his life’s work based on what was “fun.” To me, that’s a waste of his rather tremendous potential.
But I can’t really be aggravated at the guy. After all he is a professor at MIT, amazing all the incoming freshman girls with his abilities to fold paper. I bet he plays the ukulele at cocktail parties. He has a good beard.
But most of all, I’m serious now, he posts one of his classes online. I have always wanted to take a math course at MIT and now I can. That looks like fun. I only wish I could find the time from all the other, important stuff I have to do.