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INDEPENDENT LENS: Between The Folds

Airs Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Material artist Chris K. Palmer experiments in paper with pattern, movement and a flood light.

Expressive French master, Eric Joisel, has a moment of inspiration on camera during the filming of "Between The Folds."
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Above: Expressive French master, Eric Joisel, has a moment of inspiration on camera during the filming of "Between The Folds."

Minimalist human figures by Vietnamese paper folder, Giang Dinh.
Enlarge this image

Above: Minimalist human figures by Vietnamese paper folder, Giang Dinh.

Impressionistic squirrel from handmade paper by U.S. artist Michael LaFosse.
Enlarge this image

Above: Impressionistic squirrel from handmade paper by U.S. artist Michael LaFosse.

Origami may seem an unlikely medium for understanding and explaining the world. But around the globe, several fine artists and theoretical scientists are abandoning more conventional career paths to forge lives as modern-day paper folders. Through origami, these offbeat and provocative minds are reshaping ideas of creativity and revealing the relationship between art and science.

"Between The Folds" chronicles 10 of their stories. Featuring interviews with and insights into the practice of these intrepid paper folders, the film opens with three of the world's foremost origami artists: a former sculptor in France who folds caricatures in paper rivaling the figures of Daumier and Picasso; a hyper-realist who walked away from a successful physics career to challenge the physics of a folded square instead; and an artisanal papermaker who folds impressionistic creations from the very same medium he makes from scratch.

The film then moves to less conventional artists, exploring concepts of minimalism, deconstruction, process and empiricism. Abstract artists emerge with a greater emphasis on concept, chopping at the fundamental roots of realism, which have long dominated traditional origami. The film also features advanced mathematicians and a remarkable scientist who received a MacArthur Genius Award for his computational origami research.

While debates ebb and flow on issues of folding technique, symbolism and purpose, this unique film shows how closely art and science are intertwined. The medium of paper folding—a simple blank, uncut square—emerges as a resounding metaphor for the creative potential for transformation in all of us.

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Trailer: Independent Lens: Between The Folds

Above: Watch the trailer for "Independent Lens: Between The Folds." Think origami is just paper planes and cranes? Meet a determined group of theoretical scientists and fine artists who have abandoned careers and scoffed at hard-earned graduate degrees to forge new lives as modern-day paper folders. Together they reinterpret the world in paper, creating a wild mix of sensibilities towards art, science, creativity and meaning.

Video

Video Excerpt: Independent Lens: Between The Folds

Above: Origami may seem an unlikely medium for understanding and explaining the world. But around the globe, several fine artists and theoretical scientists are abandoning more conventional career paths to forge lives as modern-day paper folders. Through origami, these offbeat and provocative minds are reshaping ideas of creativity and revealing the relationship between art and science. "Between The Folds" chronicles 10 of their stories. In this video clip, meet an artisanal papermaker who folds impressionistic creations from the very same medium he makes from scratch.

Video

Video Excerpt: Between The Folds

Above: Origami may seem an unlikely medium for understanding and explaining the world. But around the globe, several fine artists and theoretical scientists are abandoning more conventional career paths to forge lives as modern-day paper folders. Through origami, these offbeat and provocative minds are reshaping ideas of creativity and revealing the relationship between art and science. "Between The Folds" chronicles 10 of their stories including a remarkable scientist who received a MacArthur Genius Award for his computational origami research.

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