Stories are a fuggly hack




It’s true everything is a ‘story’ now and everyone wants to be a ‘storyteller.’ Fashion spreads are ‘fashion stories.’ Food photography tells a ‘food story,’ but if storytellers want to jump straight to the ‘feels’ (god help me for using that term) they could just skip story and write little descriptive vignettes. So why don’t they? You can get to ‘feels’ before you fully assemble a story, if that’s really your goal.


I don’t know. There’s a reason why “The Wall” and “Tommy” are such classic albums, and a large part of it is that they aren’t just a collection of songs but they tell a story.

And “The Walking Dead” adventure games aren’t really that great as adventure games per se (there aren’t a lot of puzzles) but they are almost universally acclaimed for the story of Lee and Clementine that they tell.


I’m puzzled by this article. I agree with the part quoted here that story telling is not necessary to evoke emotions in many mediums. But the article goes on to talk about Disney rides, which rely on characters and well known symbols (graves and spider webs are scary). A really good artist doesn’t need to use other established symbols to evoke emotions (or create “the feels”) any more than they need to rely on story telling. They can do the job with color and texture and scale and so on. So I guess I feel like the article starts along a path toward something interesting and then doesn’t get very far.

I get most frustrated with obviously talented makers who rely on other people’s stories and characters. So many Tardises (forgive my pluralization errors) and Aliens and Storm Troopers out there could be something more interesting if the artist could only get past the ease of the established symbol and begin creating their own.


Assigning a narrative to the haunted mansion is as tempting and as treacherous as putting a story to Lego♧ blocks before they’ve landed into the hands of children. But Disney Corp and The Lego Group both have got to make money, so they’ll sell us what we’ll buy.


There is the other side of the coin: at least in the case of Lego the children will learn that the official narratives aren’t the only ones that can be made from the pieces on hand.


I think all art forms look like magic from the outside but like a ‘fuggly hack’ from the inside. Hiding the ‘technique’ is what I think sets good art aside… including storytelling.



As an instrumental/electronic musician, what I go for in my more ambient music is a sense of setting. A place and time that might be very story-ish, but there is no plot. The inside of a giant clockwork machine or a tiny electromechanical one; someplace wet and subterranean; an unknown forest at night; a distant train.

In my less ambient music I’m mostly doing mathematical stuff with rhythm, or just cool noises… but basically suggesting action and motion and change, without describing what they are. Forward, either steadily or with drunken lurches and stumbles.

And I like to go from one mode to the other, so there is motion into a space and then drifting to a stop, or starting in a space and then pushing/pulling out of it to somewhere else. It’s almost getting to be a cliche with me; sometimes I worry about it, but I usually don’t resist it.


Finally, an article that justifies my utter lack of artistic narrative!


Sounds like a lot of technologies, too.


I haven’t seen Lego in years. My last glimpse led me to believe that by now, there’d be no more modular parts left in the kits, just ready-made faces, animals, vehicles and whatnot. I guess you can still make up a story different from the official one.


I haven’t been following it very closely, but my impression is that it got a bit better recently.


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