A Giant Origami Crane in Logan Square

I was up early this morning, running a few errands before the start of the day. As I was driving down Logan Boulevard, a flash of white caught my eye: an enormous, origami crane sitting quietly in someone’s yard.

I made a mental note to stop by on my way home, but an hour or so later on my return… had forgotten all about it. Later on in the day, I decided to trek over there on foot to take a few photos.

From a distance, it looked like it was made entirely from paper. But closer up, you can see that it’s draped cloth/fabric, and the whole structure is held in place and pinned to the ground.

A view from the front. For some reason, this made me think of a cross between the Loch Ness Monster and Serenity. Because I’m a nerd like that.

You can’t see it from here, but there’s a small extension cord that runs from the back of the crane towards the house. My guess was that it would light up at night.

As I was walking around taking photographs, at least two other people showed up to do the same. One guy even drove by, stopped his car, and got out to take some shots.

Not being content to simply admire this thing, I was really curious about the person who built it – what was it for? Why did they build it? Was it just something they did for fun, or was it part of some larger project?

I decided to walk up to the front door and see if I could find some answers to these questions. I knocked once, and a guy walking around the side of the house asked if I needed any help. When I told him I was curious about the crane, he let me know that his sister had built it.

The guy came to the front steps, and proceeded to knock on the door a little louder. I apologized for interrupting his Sunday, but he responded with: “You can’t build a giant crane on your front lawn and not expect a few questions.”

I was greeted at the door by Sima Cunningham, who invited me inside. On walking in, I saw her living room was awash with musical instruments: numerous guitars, a very fancy looking keyboard, and an upright bass in the corner.

I learned that the crane had been completed sometime late Saturday, and was the work of multiple people: Sima, Yly, Eric Stahl-David and other friends. The group has done similar collaborations under the banner of “Bananas Projects.”

The idea for the crane began because one of her friends, apparently, makes these guys all the time. In fact, as we were chatting in her living room, Sima’s father showed me a small crane that was sitting on the coffee table.

I learned that the crane in the yard does, indeed, light up in the evenings – and is set on a timer (to go off around 4:30 PM). I also found out that Sima has plans to include a workstation outside, where people would be able to write down their wishes for the new year, create their own origami cranes, and add it to the one in the yard.

In a way, this additional component transforms the crane from something you just observe to something that you interact with… as anyone passing by would be able to participate.

As I was leaving, I thought to tell Sima about the Awesome Foundation. She and her friends had spent about $200 constructing the crane and to me… these kinds of installations/structures definitely qualify in the realm of awesome.

Some time next week, I hope to go back when it’s dark to see the crane lit up from within. And perhaps, if there’s a workstation set up… I’ll write down my wishes for the new year. One of which will be to see more fantastic projects things like this – awesome things built by awesome people, intending to add a bit of wonder to the world.

You can find out more about Sima, and listen to her music on her website at simacunningham.com.

Sandhill Crane Migration, Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area
How to Make a Crazy Paper Thing: Step by Step Instructions

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Glad you stopped to talk to her. I just bought one of her albums.

    Liam Strain Reply

  2. I’m impressed by the crane. I wonder if the ice on the sidewalk in front of the building will ever be cleared so I can see it without skates.

    Mike Musial Reply

Leave A Reply