Papiroflexia, a short poem about Origami

Papiroflexia is the Spanish word for Origami. This short film is about a man named Fred that could reshape the world with his hands through origami. It was inspired by a poem written by Joaquin Baldwin, a Paraguayan born animator currently working at Walt Disney Animation Studios in Los Angeles.

I took the liberty of contacting Joaquín through Pixel Nitrate – Joaquin Baldwin’s Animation Portfolio to ask him a couple of questions about his poem. I remember a friend of ours had casually introduced him to us one night out of the many we would spend at the Brit in Asuncion.

I sent him a somewhat formal email and was very happy to get a very friendly reply. Paraguay is known locally as “El pais de los amigos” (the country of friends). I can’t decide whether this saying alludes to the friend of a friend of a friend’s resume getting pulled up to the top of the heap or to the concept that the friend of a friend of another friend is my friend, allowing several degrees of separation to be bumped down to a personal relationship. Most likely it’s both, but you’ll see a few sets of eyes roll along with the first!

I asked Joaquin to tell me a little bit about his poem.

What inspired you to write a poem about Origami?

I’ve been doing origami since I was 5, always loved it, and one time I had an assignment for a poetry class and decided to write about it. The idea for a film came much later, but since the poem was so visual already it was very easy to adapt.

Who inspired you to create “Fred”?

Fred is a friend of mine from Ohio, who doesn’t actually do origami or perform mass-genocide by folding entire cities into trees, but his personality fit the character for the poem I was writing. He is an adorable teddy bear, a mixture of hardcore and soft belly, full of tattoos and hugs. I’m attaching two pics here so you can see for yourself.

fred

Fred.

Quite a resemblance! What do you think?

He also shared his poem with me and now I share it with you.

Fred was the finest paper-folder in the land,

from tiny boats to immense cranes he used

his fingers to fold anything at all, amused

at how they transformed in his own hands.

Outside, noisy cars roared around the block,

Fred took the steps down, and went for a walk.

With quick moves he folded all traffic signs,

creasing them into colorful butterflies.

Cars into buffalos, airplanes to cranes,

lampposts into trees and into rivers the streets,

and with a mountain fold very sleek

the whole city turned to landscape again.

He bent to his knees and pulled his hair

to fold himself into a big red bear.

With the noise now gone, his job was done.

Fred went to sleep and rested, safe and calmed.

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