This is the last article published on the Pastry Box Project.
For four years, Katy and I have asked authors to contribute to our project's corpus, and we've had the incredible honor to publish brilliant texts–one new text every day–from brilliant minds during 1461 days (2012 was a leap year).
The concept at the origin of the Pastry Box is quite simple: bring people together and let them write about anything they want. If you do that, you should get some kind of testimony about our day and age. You should be able to grab some sense of our era. That's always been the goal of the Pastry Box.
I've always assumed that the sole fact of stating the project's ambition and giving complete freedom to the project's contributors would produce some kind of magical result.
And, in my humble opinion, it did.
It's possible that my vision of the project may be biased by the intentions I set for the Pastry Box, but when I read the texts published in 2012, I can see that the preoccupations of our writers were not the same as the preoccupations of the people writing in 2015, and that 2012 is in many ways a statement of what the web–and our world–was at the time.
I can't help but feel that the Pastry Box found itself at a particular juncture in time and that, in retrospect, we'll understand that the Internet was taking a major turn during the years the project was active.
The explosion of the mobile web, the accumulation of new developing tools and techniques, the rise of social networks as a mainstream apparatus for communication, the drastic changes in content production and distribution as well as in project's financing–not to mention start-ups philosophies–are amongst the things that make the Internet a complete different place than the one I knew when Ethan's first post went live.
At the time the Pastry Box started, there was a feeling that people were still trying to figure out the Internet, trying to understand which direction this thing could and would take. I now feel that a path has been found. I would be hardly pressed to describe it accurately, and there are obviously not just one single path when you take a closer look at the state of the web, but I can't help but feel that there is a general movement toward a certain direction. Time and distance are going to be needed to turn those rather abstract considerations into precise words, to understand the changes the Internet was undergoing, its transformations, and how it was shaping our world. But I know that the joyful chaos of the early 2010s is settling down to give room to a more normalized–and probably less creative–state of things.
I know that at some point, I will come back to the texts published on the Pastry Box to understand better what was happening circa the moment of my writing. Because I will want to understand the world I will be living in, how it works, and I how I should act in it. Its secrets.
The future is shaped by the present, and the present only exists as a result of the past.
Thank you so much for reading me, and for–still–reading the Pastry Box, no matter where you find yourself in the future.