Origami demonstrates ‘myriad’ three dimensional ‘formation’ (using the logics of folding) from an ‘inchoate’ single plane in geometry. Origami, to us as thinkers of ‘form’, signifies in a very generic sense the kinetic tension between ‘inchoate shape’ and ‘myriad form’.
Of the several stages in the process of design, one observes most strongly this tension at the initial stages of clarifying the intentions and goals. When the cause of the impending effect must be sought.
Arguably, this is the most significant stage in the design process, for all decisions here are the explicit causes of the tangible effects of the final artifact. In Origami, as in Architectural design, most stages after the initial statement of intentions can theoretically be automated. However, it has always been a rather interesting intellectual conundrum; to think of a possibility to automate intentions and causes.
Let us propose as an intellectual construct, a machine, that when set in motion begins from a single two dimensional plane (of a certain prescribed proportion or size) and proceeds to folding itself and ‘form’ all the ‘infinite’ morphological possibilities that are implicit in a two‐dimensional plane. Parallel to this process, we propose another recognition algorithm (pattern and structural) that will continuously check the momentary formations and will apply a meaning based on recognition. Needless to say, what this process would finally entail is a gargantuan taxonomy of known morphologies.
This obviously is not that interesting for us designers of physical morphologies, for even if we could automate a choice ‘algorithm’ in this list, based on certain other peculiar/contextual inputs, why would it be superior to just choosing something from everything in the first place?
What, however, is truly significant about the taxonomy above, is the entire ‘other’ end of the taxonomy, the unfinished infinite list of morphological possibilities that have yet to be discovered. This is where it gets interesting, for the machine shows us all that is not known. ‘Automation’ in this sense at the root of the design process represents a potential to ‘invention’. It is in such a sense perhaps, when the myriad is truly the infinite and the inchoate, truly the unknown.