baked byAllen Tan
Form-making gets a lot of attention today.
The new forms are what people talk about. They win awards, clients, the praise of your peers, and money. They start to get reused, adapted, and become a shorthand for kinds of storytelling. Our collective attention privileges the thing.
But it’s worth remembering that they’re the substrate of a process. What you see rests on experiments with framing word and image in certain ways, dividing and managing readers’ attention and rhythm and flow, and a whole mess of technological superglue that bonds them together.
More often than not, it’s the form that gets copied, not the process that it came from. Maybe it’s because it’s easier to copy the thing. But to mimic something without understanding why it works is to become a cargo cult, unlikely to reap the benefits you’re hoping for.
The thing doesn’t matter. It — along with the assumptions, gambles, and affordances inherent — is simply a stake in the ground.
This worked here.
It allows the adjacent possible, the next set of forms, to be uncovered.
Maybe it’s also because the thinking behind form-making is hard to decipher, and that we’re rarely comfortable with talking about this stuff. Not in the open, anyway, and not nearly enough.