The Science of Art - The Art of Science . BETWEEN THE FOLDS

At its heart, BETWEEN THE FOLDS is a film about potential. The potential of an uncut paper square. The potential of a wild scientific idea. The potential to see things differently.
For as long as I can remember, the driving impulses behind art, science, sculpture and math have seemed deeply connected to me—they are all means of interpreting our experiences in a universal language. When I first learned about the curious phenomenon of fine artists, scientists and mathematicians from all over the world working in the very same medium of origami, I knew there had to be something special about it: that in the simplicity of a square some untold potential for creativity and new ideas must be hiding.
As a documentary project, this film has been less about telling a story and rather about finding an idea—layers of ideas. Everyone involved in this project has been incredibly energized by the challenge of making a documentary film about ideas. All along, we knew its central themes would speak to different people in different ways, as any film about ideas should. Therefore, it was of great importance that its themes were presented subtly and flexibly, so that every viewer could experience the film in ways that were both universally resonant and personally meaningful.

For me, as a filmmaker, this has also been a project about transformation—not only of paper squares, but also of people and lives. Most of those featured in the film left traditional lives to devote themselves to the thing they love most— paper folding: the magical process of transforming two dimensions into three dimensions. And their remarkable stories resonated so strongly with me upon abandoning my own former work, that I was determined to bring their inspiring stories to light. And so, my devotion to this film rests in the hope that others take inspiration from these incredible stories of transformation as well.

—Vanessa Gould


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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