Thursday, 27 November 2008

Paper Penguins

Captured penguins

One of the joys of being at the School of Art is the little unexpected things. For example, a couple of days ago someone put up a series of paper origami penguins in the main hallway by the notice board.

They were trundling along in a sedate curve but kept being knocked over by people unaware of their existence ('Mind the penguins!' 'What penguins?') or blown over whenever someone opened the door. I suspected the caretaker of righting them but some clearly preferred staring at the ceiling, which is very nice with the view through an oval hole in the first floor floor, ringed by wooden banisters. 'Waste of space!' pronounced Former Tutor, but I thought, if I was working somewhere, and suddenly Paper Penguins appeared in the corridor, it would bring a Moment of Joy into my day. This surely is one function of art. Not all art, certainly, but some art should be allowed to bring joy, and not just Big Ideas.

There is a sad postscript to this story. I came in this morning, and they had all been gathered up and affixed to the noticeboard in a stack, with a pushpin. Ouch!

More puzzlingly, a quick internet search for 'origami penguins' revealed nothing so simple and elegant as those innocents massacred against the green baize. You might try

I will have to seek out the penguins' maker. I wonder if it was the same person who put a piece of red string leading from the street,

up through the car park, in through the front doors, and up several flights of stairs, to what, I never found out. 'I'm expecting something grizzly - a body!' enthused Tutor. What actually happened was that as I left that evening, in the dark, I felt something like a small animal tugging at my ankle. It turned out to be the string, in which I had become entangled while crossing the lawn.