The promise of a “how it’s made” video is that it will surprise you. That’s obvious in this collection of the best “process porn” videos of 2018 from design blog Core77. Each video snaps something into place in your brain: oh, that’s how that works!
For example, here’s a machine that prints ceramics:
If you asked me how printed ceramics are made, I could have fudged an explanation, but I could not have imagined this big bubbly boy. And I like to think that this revelation has, ever so minutely, expanded my mind.
Not necessarily as a straight metaphor—“if you want to leave your mark, you must adapt to the shape of your surroundings”—but as a subtler reminder that everything around me was created through multiple processes, most of which I couldn’t guess if I tried.
And so has every system, every place, and every person. And when I interact with any one of these, I would do well to consider how intricately they were put together.
My father works in prototyping and manufacture, and he used to entertain me by grabbing some nearby object and puzzling out how it was made. A lot of the time, the answer was injection moulding—he loved to point out the seam down the side of an otherwise radially symmetrical pepper shaker. Sometimes he could only make an educated guess. Just remembering that everything comes from somewhere was a major lesson itself.
Think of looking at a human being this way: considering the decades they spent being raised, educated, prepared to make it on their own; the indelible marks of an upbringing that cannot be eradicated by the most dramatic later reversals of belief and behaviour. Would this not give us a greater appreciation of others’ perspectives?
If every inanimate object has a surprising origin story, how could any person be less than fascinating? And would it not teach us to value others more, to consider the marks we leave on each other? To think of everyone as a part of each other’s ongoing origin story?
And that’s my philosophical justification for spending an hour watching luggage get thermoformed. Watch the clips here!