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Otto Nordström : the BOS papers #3

The Last Century 'School of Origami Crushing' in Northern Finland
At the remotest of all remotest places in the Northern Finland of last century, was a village . It was so remote that nobody ever went in or came out or even knew its name. This cultural isolation led the villagers to evolve their traditional pastime of paper-folding into a new creative philosphy. This became known as the 'School of Origami Crushing'. I only learnt of the School by many coincidences and against great odds, which, by chance, is why they cannot be repeated here with certainty.

The School believed that it was better to travel than to arrive (they were interested in travel). Hence, knowing that travel broadens the mind and that the joy of death is in the dying, the Members decided to apply this belief to their practice of paper-folding. In translation, it proved that the sequence of the folds and their folding were more important than the folded model, which was therefore not worth getting to. They thought that travelling was so nice, it should never stop. Hence, each Member had one piece of paper which he always folded, unfolded and refolded until it was unfoldably tiny or it tore, never making a model or wanting to. When the paper was ended and a new piece taken, the old piece was ceremonially destroyed by being crushed in a series of delicate and specific finger movements, now lost.

This ceremony gave the School its name. Members believed that a model was the product of a frustrated ego, eager for recognition and praise. Their village was so isolated that they could now show their models (assuming they made any, which they didn't) to strangers. The concept of model was therefore irrelevant to them. Also, in the School, no copying could be done, so that no origami experience was second-hand. All experience was first-hand and therefore more rewarding. This was because each Member of the School evolved his own travel-route and his own personally significant creative style, whether or not he had talent, creative flair or skill.


a rare example of Nordström artwork, crafted on dried moose skin

The purpose of a folding sequence therefore was to experience the activity of folding. Its purpose was not to achieve a model.
This is obviously completely ridiculous. We, as experienced, dedicated enthusiasts in this era of common sense, know that the purpose of the folding sequence is to achieve a completed model. This can be proved in two ways:

1. Origami books and magazines show folding sequences from open square to completed model. Ethusiasts come to the art through these sources, and form their conclusions about the philosophy of the art from them. Hence, they believe origami to be about the achieving of a model and northing else. They are, of course, correct. They must be.
2. Exhibitions of origami concentrate on the display of completed models. This demonstrates to the public the unimportance of the folding sequence and the necessity of using pretty papers when making models to prove they are of high quality.
So, this discredits the 'School of Origami Crushing'. They had got it wrong.

Did they know their philosophy was wrong? I think so. The School continued to exist for many, many weeks the Members began to use their papers to make role-your-own cigarettes with, after brave explorers had introduced tobacco in the village. To date, I have not found any evidence that the School survived . Perhaps this is a pity, because if still around today, it could have formed itself into an origami Society like everybodyelse does.

This Report, my last, has been written with the help of my friend Kurt, which is why the English is better than in previous Reports. If I find something else of interest, I will write again.

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