Zoom and gloom
During 2022, I unsurprisingly spent a lot of time working from home. Which, like most other people, meant a lot of time staring at Zoom video calls.
While I don’t (yet) need glasses, I’ve long struggled with glare-related headaches if I spend too long staring at a screen. This is fine when writing or coding, because I can continually take mini-breaks every few minutes and look around the room. This works especially well when writing text prose, because I can stare into the middle distance while touch-typing, without needing to look at the screen at all.
But video calls are a different matter. Even when I tried not to, I found I would keep looking at the screen as much as possible. Sometimes it would be to maintain the rough illusion of eye contact, sometimes just to focus on a someone else’s screen sharing. Either way, I was starting to get eye strain on days with many online meetings.
Eye contact (or the webcam facsimile of it) isn’t quite as important in team meetings when someone is sharing their screen. So I needed to find a way to force myself to take eye breaks during these regular meetings.
Part health, part challenge, part art project
One day I found the answer thanks to two items I already had lying around the house. One was a pack of 400 post-it sized (7.5cm-sided square) origami papers in various colours (thank you, Daiso). The other was John Montroll’s book Dinosaur Origami, which I’ve owned for many years. I had made some of the models in the book, but not all. Many of them were simple enough to be folded from small paper. But while the models start off easy, they do get progressively harder.
So a challenge was born. I would attempt to fold all 27 dinosaur origami models in the book using identically-sized small papers. But I would only fold them during Zoom calls. This wasn’t going to be a quick challenge — just a bit here, a bit there. Sometimes my full attention is needed in the calls. But at other times all I need to do is listen, which is the perfect time to fold. That way I let my eyes focus on other things, while still being present in conversations.
With a variety of colours to choose from, I realised I could also do them in a neat rainbow order. Therefore my health-prompted folding challenge also turned into a bit of an art project.
This doesn’t need to be a big long ramble, so here they are: The Zoomisaurs.
27 dinosaur models, almost entirely folded during Zoom calls in 2022, from 7.5cm square paper. The final stegosaurus model required just a bit too much concentration and accuracy (and tweezers), so it had to be completed once I’d finished working for the day.