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February, 2019 at the School for Poetic Computation

Maze Folding

  • 2 Week Session, Monday Feb 4th - Sunday Feb 17th
  • @ SFPC, 155 Bank street, West Village, NYC
  • 6:30pm - 9:30pm, Monday to Friday


  • Kelli Anderson
  • Simon Arizpe
  • Coralie Gourguechon
  • Robby Kraft
  • Pam Liou

Readings, Homework, Resources


How does our understanding of technology change when abstractions become tangible? In this course, paper acts as a bridge between code, mathematics, and our human sensory experience of the world.

Course objectives:

  • learn how folding can be used to augment or replace traditional engineering methods
  • foundational methods in kirigami and pop-ups
  • contemporary origami design from uniaxial bases to software based computational flat-foldability
  • an introduction to silkscreened electronics
  • an introduction to prototyping methods, manufacturing, code-based modeling and testing strategies, how to: graphic design for 3-D forms


Monday, Feb. 4 • Class 1: Introduction

Robby, Kelli, Coralie, and Taeyoon Choi

Preparatory Homework

  • Watch: “The Origami Revolution” and Ron Resch’s “Paper and Stick Film”
  • Install: Plotter software (Craft Robo Cutting Master 3 or 4 - plugin for Adobe Illustrator)

In this introduction, Taeyoon will introduce the class, give context for SFPC’s mission and history, and discuss logistics Three of the Code-Paper-Scissors instructors will introduce themselves, their work, and the ground they will cover:

  • Robby: origami, math history, software
  • Coralie: paper electronics
  • Kelli: design, paper-engineering, function from structure

We'll spend time getting to know our fellow students, the space, the plotter, the tools, and the wall of cut/fold pattern dielines and templates. We will finish the evening with our first origami activity and an introduction to crease patterns.

Homework: Box-pleating homework

Tuesday, Feb. 5 • Class 2: Origami Design 1


(computer optional)


In this class we'll cover 3 approaches to origami design:

  • modifying existing designs
  • free-form design by concave-hull wrapping
  • circle river uniaxial-bases

Robby will introduce concepts briefly with a slideshow and will lead hands-on exploration of each concept. A secondary aim of this class is to introduce students to developing an artistic intuition in origami: how to optimize use of material and how to navigate forks in the road to best prevent a dead-end.


Homework: Finish folding the Riso Muira Ori, bring tomorrow

Homework: short Kenya Hara reading and “Kill Math”

Wednesday, Feb. 6 • Class 3: Paper as an Interface on the world, Paper Gadgets


When tech is made physical it becomes radically accessible. In this class, we will discuss a multitude of wants that paper can make difficult abstractions tangible and help us observe the delicate physical forces of the world around us.

Thursday, Feb. 7 • Class 4: The Fundamentals of Pop-ups I


(no computer needed)

In this hands-on workshop, students will learn the essential structures of paper engineering and pop-ups by creating their own textbooks. They will then apply what they have learned towards designing and building their own pop-ups. During this section, students will be familiarized with the tools and techniques used in the field by building examples of mechanisms for themselves while gaining a basic understanding of pop-up book design.

Friday, Feb. 8 • Class 5: The Fundamentals of Pop-ups II, The History of paper and computers

Simon, Pam

(no computer needed)

In the second section of pop-up fundamentals, we will explore combinations of the different mechanisms learned at the start of the course. Pam will discuss the history of looms, paper tape, punchcards, and paper computers— and will discuss them in terms of information systems and cybernetics.

Monday, Feb. 11 • Class 6: Origami Design 2: tessellations, rigid folding, software


(bring a computer today)


This class will be covered in three parts. The first section is all about the hard parts of origami, beginning with the frontiers of origami: curved creases and crumpling. We'll discuss what makes this hard and and why there are unsolved problems. Discuss what is easily solvable leads us into origami software and we'll take a look under the hood of Rabbit Ear. Again, we'll look at some difficult problems in origami software and what makes them hard. We'll end this section with a demonstration of how to create a crease pattern in code and render it in Origami Simulator.

The second component begins with an introduction to origami tessellations, followed by a workshop where we create our own tiling. Students will be able to prototype a design and perform their own foldability tests.

The final component is an introduction to rigid folding and a look at software by Tomohiro Tachi: Freeform Origami, and Origamizer. We'll look at the "algorithm that can make anything" (Tachi, Demaine), and an exercise in a collapsable cardboard creation.


Homework: If you have an iphone, download and install this pinhole light meter app

Tuesday, Feb. 12 • Class 7: Make a Functional pop-up paper camera


(no computer needed)

In this class, we will transform a flat piece of paper into a functional pinhole camera, while learning how light works. You can then use your camera with photo paper (provided) to take large-format pictures—which you can develop in instant coffee and baking soda.

The classroom will temporarily be converted into a camera obscura, so we can observe light’s behavior from both inside and outside of the black box.

Homework: read SparkFun Electronics primer

Wednesday, Feb. 13 • Class 8: Electronics

Coralie and Pam

In this workshop, we will use paper electronics to rebuild common components with paper. We will first explore paper circuits, make a light turn on and off, and then make a radial potentiometer. At the end of the class, we will learn how speakers work and make a fully-functional paper speaker. How can we incorporate structure to bend, extend, or alter these projects’ functionality?

Homework: Create an action that will turn-on the light and create a system (volume, screen) to diffuse the light of the leds.

Thursday, Feb. 14 • Class 9: Interfaces


In this class, we will rethink gestures to interact with paper interfaces and construct a paper synthesizer. We will start with reimagine what a graphic-based interface can be and what kinds of interaction does it offer? (Does it isolating notes? Will it allow for sliding sounds? Or randomness? Or for chords to be played?) How does structure dictate how the instrument must be played?

Friday, Feb. 15 • Class 10: Silkscreened Electronics and additional workshops

header image was designed using the orthogonal maze algorithm by Erik Demaine, Martin Demaine, Jason Ku

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