Computers, those devices Steve Jobs once described as “bicycles for the mind,” have transformed our minds and imaginations. Many of us now embrace geometry and three dimensions and generative form thanks to our wonderful machines. But, sometimes, it’s worth stepping away from the screen. It lets us understand with our hands working away at a problem using something more than a mouse, to “see” with our fingers and not just our mind and eyes.
Matthew Shlian, in a new collaboration with US label Ghostly International, potently describes that feeling. He works entirely in paper – nary a pixel or byte in sight – but connects to some deeper process. And the results – well, the results are stunning, that sense of a tangible process reflected even in these abstract folds. More:
Matthew Shlian works within the increasingly nebulous space between art and engineering. As a paper engineer, Shlian’s work is rooted in print media, book arts, and commercial design, though he frequently finds himself collaborating with a cadre of scientists and researchers who are just now recognizing the practical connections between paper folding and folding at microscopic and nanoscopic scales.
An MFA graduate of Cranbrook Academy, Shlian divides his time between teaching at the University of Michigan, mocking up new-fangled packaging options for billion dollar blue-chips, and creating some of the most inspiring paper art around.
Ghostly teamed up with the Ann Arbor-based photographer and videographer Jakob Skogheim, to produce this feature short, which combines interview and time-lapse footage of Shlian creating several stunning new pieces.
Directed by Jakob Skogheim
Produced by Jakob Skogheim for Ghostly International
Music by Shigeto from the “Lineage” EP
Post-digital, perhaps. Or maybe it doesn’t matter: maybe it’s all about the power of the human brain – and hands.