It’s an early Tuesday morning, or maybe it’s Wednesday. I sit down at a table in my studio. I clear the table of all its ordinary chaos and from my backpack I pull out a ream of white typing paper. I place it to the right of center on the table. I rub my hands and crack my knuckles. I arch my back for a moment, and then settle into my chair. I take a single sheet of typing paper and place it in the center of the table. I begin to fold the paper in such a way that by the seventh crease, I have constructed a paper airplane.
I stop to think about how many I want to make, then about how many I really need to make for the purposes of the exhibition I have in mind. I take into consideration the issues of space and volume and other such sculptural concerns, but I soon return to the simple act of folding. I drift in and out of thought. These thoughts however, are limited to the specifics of the work I am doing and its applications, implications, formal qualities, and so on. I return to the folding. I remind myself that people use paper like this every day in a variety of ways as a medium on which to communicate with each other. This paper, too, will communicate something. I return to the folding. I can not discern as to whether I am being active or passive. My guess is that I am both as I return to the folding.
I find myself making calculations. I figure out that two planes can be made every minute or so. One hundred and twenty planes an hour if I keep up the pace or more if I get into a good rhythm. I realize that because I decided to make three thousand planes in all, that in twenty-five hours or so, I will have made twenty one thousand folds. I wonder to myself if efficiency really has anything to do with the work or if I am somehow compelled to move as fast as I can. Yes, I must move fast. I have to capture the fleeting instant and freeze it. I try to suspend the activity and I become suspended myself. When I am finished with folding one plane, I place it in a stack of others and immediately reach for another sheet of paper, though I am never fast enough.
My fingertips have become smooth but hard and my hands feel strong and patient. I think several hours have passed now and I decide to stop. I do not think about when I will return to this work. It will always be there. I leave the studio and circle around in half thought for the rest of the day. I think about why our experience of time contracts and expands in relation to all the events that comprise this earthly life and come to the conclusion that our lives are indeed quite like paper airplanes. Directed and propelled by what or whom, I wonder.