Thursday, August 23, 2007


Regular paperclips, you can only link together into intricate chains and maybe a few patterns. But for my money, butterfly clips are where office art is at.

The problem with paperclips is their simplicity. You have a strand of aluminium. It's almost two dimensional. Link them together and you have a a bunch in a line, or link a lot to a single point and they make something that looks like metal hair. You can't really mold and fold them into anything besides intricate 2D lines and shapes. There is no third dimension, they are incapable as inanimate objects to exist or comprehend three dimensions as we know them. Thus, while extraordinary at temporarily binding sheets of paper with minimal cost and use of material, they are a poor medium for art.

Which brings us to butterfly clips. Now these, are art of and by themselves. Their triangular 'mouth' which has slender crocodile lips projecting from it, which can snap back and forth for a bite radius of almost 270 degrees. These are no mere 2D clips, these fully exist in the third dimension and they let you know it. Try storing a bunch, it's difficult! They're bulky and rarely fit into any human made container.

Yes, the singular clip is a piece of work by itself. But what about multiple clips? If one is art, two is a masterpiece. If two is a masterpiece, three make a Sistine. And they clip together solidly. They don't slip and slide and fumble about like two linked normal paperclips, when two butterflies clamp it's a solid bond, it's not going or moving anywhere. But it's not too permanent, with a twist of the hand it easily comes off, for adjustment or placement elsewhere.
They are mostly uniform in color and design, making any sculpture aesthetically pleasing. The only differences I've noted are in size (different sizes are a bonus, gives 'texture' to your piece) and the very very rare white/green colored ones. For these reasons, the basis of any office sculpture worth its salt is the butterfly clip. It is the rock upon which you set your foundation, without it you have pieces of office supplies, with it you have da Vinci.

And this is not to say that you should solely use butterflies either. Feel free to add regular standard paperclips, rubber bands, pens, pencils, markers, staple removers, staplers, quarters, discarded forms and papers, thumbtacks, CDs, 3 ring binders, cables, CD cases, screwdrivers, floppy disks, floppy drives, screws, nails, name plates, tape, garbage bags, staples, computer monitors, computers, phones, copiers, fax machines, clocks, fluorescent light bulbs, printers, desks (not necessarily the entire desk, pieces of it will do), folders, discarded coffee cups, electrical outlets, USB flash drives, carts, rug, co-workers, and Rolodexes to your artwork. The more the merrier!

Upon its completion, you should always show your boss your impressive achievement. The more time and material wasted on it, the more impressed she/he/it will be.

I encourage anyone making such a sculpture to email a photo of it, as well as divulging the length of time spent in the unemployment line due to it. I assure that everything will be anonymous.

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