November 9, 2016 (One Thousand Cranes)

November 9, 2016 (One Thousand Cranes) is a series of 1,000 photographs of 1,000 origami cranes, each folded from the New York Times newspaper from the day after the 2016 presidential election. In Japanese tradition, folding 1,000 cranes is something that an individual or community will do as a sort of prayer when someone is sick, has died, or in times of difficulty. I started folding these cranes after the election as a personal meditation exercise, a way to deal with anxiety and uncertainty. While I folded them I thought about my grandmother, who were interned during WWII for three years, starting when she was twelve years old. It was she who showed me how to fold origami when I was a kid. I thought about the difficulties that we are facing as a country now—the things that we've learned since my grandmother was a kid, and the things we haven't.

As a meditation practice, folding these cranes was an exercise in patience, and in accepting the suffering that is a part of our lives every day. By folding these cranes from the newspaper itself, I wanted to transform everyday suffering into something beautiful, but also to show that beauty and suffering go hand in hand. By putting these photographs on display, I'm trying to make a case for contemplation and meditation, rather than the reactionary anger that is so much a part of our political conversations.

I have exhibited the project in part as an installation of printed photographs, and then as an interactive projection of the project website. I would love to see this project in different iterations, and am working on trying to get it installed at the Pittsburgh Airport and printed as a book. I'm currently reaching out to the community to find a place to show the project in whatever form seems best.

Funded by Pittsburgh, PA (August 2019)