“A short story by Edgar Allan Poe, ‘The Imp of the Perverse’ discusses the imp inside all of us that leads us to do things we know we shouldn’t do. Each page is perforated in a grid system with sections of the text missing. Readers must follow the simple instructions to tear and fold specific sections to reveal the missing text. Books are usually perceived as precious objects and this destruction is engineered to give the reader conflicting feelings, do they keep the book in it’s perfect untorn form? Or give into the imp and enjoy tearing it apart?”
Mathematics is like art; you either understand the concepts (i.e., you ‘get it’), or you become completely lost when coming into contact with them. Some people are able to understand both complex theories and expressions in art, and equations that, for some people, look like a bag of numbers and symbols exploded onto a piece of paper. In 1847, Oliver Byrne, a civil engineer and author, published a book called “Euclid’s Elements” which used coloured graphic explanations of each geometric principle. The style of graphics is similar to that of the Bauhaus and De Stijl movements, but since the book predates each, it could very well have been an inspiration for the creativity of the modernists.
Fast forward to the present, and a new rebirth of this book’s mathematical illustrations is inspiring paper engineer and illustrator Helen Friel to create three-dimensional sculpture replicas of the exact graphics in the book. The artists’ series, entitled “Here’s Looking at Euclid” (2012) uses the instructions found in Byrne’s book to create tangible mathematical theorems in the palm of your hand. Sure, it is a cool sculpture all on its own, but it is also an amazing tool to help teach people these theorems, especially those who are more visual learners and have difficulty concentrating on a page full of numbers.
If you would like to make one of these sculptures yourself, you can download and make your very own paper model of Pythagoras’ Theorem here.
The pop up book is made from paper and it folds away flat into a small box, which is also its stand. As the lid is flipped open, one discovers a tiny cabin nestled in a three-dimensional mountain forest.
The project concept is to create an object that goes beyond aesthetics to evoke an experience into which one can escape briefly and be delighted. Belying the initial simplicity and solitude of forest imagery, are creatures hidden on the reverse side of the trees and artefacts buried under the mapped topography of the mountain. These contrasting elements invite the user to generate narrative.
This large sculptural piece was inspired by the vernacular architecture found in shantytowns around the world, especially those in latin america which definitely holds reminiscent of the favelas found in Brazil.
Elod is a paper artist/engineer based in London. He creates art installations, commercial backdrops, greeting cards, jewelry, etc. He writes, “I look forward to develop a kinetic language to explore form through the constellation of cuts and folds.”
We are very happy to hear he is a fan of our blog and super excited to have him join our community.
Check out his beautiful/clever work on his site and flickr.
I’ve been really quiet this semester, mostly because I’ve been having a terrible block. But I think I’ve gotten over it and I managed to finish this book for my Paper Engineering class. Based off an assignment I did in Drawing IV, but I like this iteration much better.
This week, we are sharing House of Cods, a finely printed pop-up book featuring a poem by Carol Schatt. The book was designed, printed, and assembled by Linda Smith in 1996 at the Picnic Press in Phoenix, Arizona in an edition of 50. The book is an environmental warning framed in the guise of a playful and engaging pop-up. Once the viewer is seduced by this apparently entertaining structure, there is no backing out, and they are met instead with sober contents of impending doom. Smith makes use of the pop-up not as we conceive of it today–a structure to amaze and delight–but rather as it was originally intended–a didactic tool for instruction and explanation.
The poem, which is told from the perspective of the cod fish, warns of the dangers of overfishing and disrupting the marine environment. The seemingly playful popup design mirrors this warning, depicting a house of cards, topped by a boat, which rests upon a foundation of fish. Netting from the top of the boat descends down the construction, and then flows as a printed impression over the paper and the text of the poem, giving the illusion that the lament of the fish has been caught in the nets. Once humanity has “emptied the seas completely” we will “hear the slow sad echo and then no more,” and the house of cards that is the fishing industry will come toppling down.
Linda Smith was a student of John Risseeuw, another printmaker, papermaker, and book artist who also uses themes of environmental and social justice. The text for this books is handset Optima foundry type with relief line engravings. The Gyotaku fish impressions were printed on a variety of Mexican, Philippine, and Thai handmade papers.